The Pennsylvania Department of Human Services (DHS) has announced an increase to Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefit amounts and changes to income limits.

The food and nutrition service annually evaluates SNAP’s income eligibility standards, the maximum thrifty food plan and the minimum benefit amount.

According to the DHS, benefit levels may increase as a result of these updates however, no one will experience a decrease in benefits.

Leanna Nieratko, CEO of the Erie Food Co-op, said a lot of their customers use their SNAP benefits at their locations but this change is not going to feel like a real increase.

She explained people are able to afford less because of inflation and so the increase is really just catching up to that.

“There are other ways to look at increasing their purchasing power too. One of the best ways to do that is to shop seasonally. A great example right now is that it’s November so a lot of grocery stores are going to be competing for your baking dollars coming into the holiday season. But even if you are not baking, it’s a great time to stalk up on shelf-stable items, like flour and sugar, because it’s going to be the best price it will be all year,” said Leanna Nieratko, CEO and general manager of Erie Food Co-op.

The new income limits began Oct. 1 and go through Sept. 30, 2024.