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Lawmakers prepare to cut off enhanced food stamp benefits to Hoosiers on April 16

Brandon Smith
/
IPB News
Indiana Republican lawmakers are poised to cut off extra food stamp benefits Hoosiers have received throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

Indiana Republican lawmakers are poised to cut off extra food stamp benefits Hoosiers have received throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

The federal government made enhanced SNAP benefits available in the earliest days of the pandemic. And the Biden administration continued extending the federal health emergency, meaning those benefits are still available to Hoosiers, about $85 per family.

Indiana state lawmakers are preparing legislation to help the governor end the state’s public health emergency without losing access to federal funds, including SNAP. But that legislation includes a cutoff date for the extra food stamp funds: April 16.

That means, even if the federal government extends its health emergency again and continues to offer enhanced SNAP, Hoosiers won’t receive it.

Sen. Jean Breaux (D-Indianapolis) called that “reprehensible.”

“Families still need our help and it costs us nothing,” Breaux said.

Join the conversation and sign up for the Indiana Two-Way. Text "Indiana" to 73224. Your comments and questions in response to our weekly text help us find the answers you need on statewide issues. Trying to follow along with our coverage of the legislative session? We've compiled all the stories our reporters have published by bill number and topic here.

But Sen. Mark Messmer (R-Jasper) said there is a cost: increasing national debt.

“It might only be $90 here and $90 there but pretty soon, it’s real dollars," Messmer said. "And it’s something we’re all going to deal with for the rest of our lives.”

But if Indiana rejects the enhanced funds, those dollars will still get spent. They’ll just be spent in other states.

Contact reporter Brandon at bsmith@ipbs.org or follow him on Twitter at @brandonjsmith5.

Copyright 2022 IPB News. To see more, visit .

Brandon Smith is excited to be working for public radio in Indiana. He has previously worked in public radio as a reporter and anchor in mid-Missouri for KBIA Radio out of Columbia. Prior to that, he worked for WSPY Radio in Plano, Illinois as a show host, reporter, producer and anchor. His first job in radio was in another state capitol, in Jefferson City, Missouri, as a reporter for three radio stations around Missouri. Brandon graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2010, with minors in political science and history. He was born and raised in Chicago.