A key emergency COVID benefit payment is officially ending while food prices across the nation remain at an all-time high.

The emergency benefits that boost payments to Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients during the pandemic will soon be coming to an end.

Pennsylvania, along with about 30 other states, will see a shrink in their SNAP program. For nearly three years, households have been receiving additional emergency benefits on top of their normal allotments.

Starting March 1, 2023, recipients will only get their regular SNAP payments loaded to their cards without the additional payment in the second half of the month.

Regular SNAP benefits are based on income and expenses. It can be increased if there is a change in income, shelter, dependent care, medical expenses and address.

Second Harvest Food Bank’s SNAP outreach coordinator said families will now have to figure out how to live with the smaller amounts and has some tips as well.

“You do not need to use your emergency allotment money immediately. You can keep it on your card and slowly use it over time even though it’s ending, which means you won’t be getting anymore. What is on your card won’t go away as long as you use it one time every nine-month period,” said Bonnie Rearick, SNAP outreach coordinator for the Second Harvest Food Bank.

Rearick said that if this is still not enough, especially with such short notice, the food bank is readily available for food distributions in 11 counties.