Iowans who qualify for federal food assistance received $141 million less in benefits from April through August, due to Governor Kim Reynolds’ action earlier in the year, according to data the Iowa Hunger Coalition released on October 12.
After Reynolds ended the state’s public health emergency related to the COVID-19 pandemic, Iowans lost access to the emergency allotments in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as food stamps. The Iowa Hunger Coalition calculated that the total amount Iowans received through SNAP dropped by 43 percent from March to April.
Without the emergency allotments, the coalition reported, “On average, households have been receiving $200 less in benefits every month. The average SNAP benefit per meal for individuals in Iowa was $1.56 in August 2022.”
The federal government entirely funds the SNAP program, so the state of Iowa saved no money by depriving food-insecure Iowans of extra benefits.
On the contrary: the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service has calculated that each $1 issued in SNAP benefits generates $1.54 in economic impact. (When people in need receive more food assistance, they can spend more of their limited resources on other goods and services in their community.) So the $141 million Iowans did not receive from April through August could have increased Iowa’s gross domestic product by $217 million.