Emergency SNAP benefits (formerly called Food Stamps) increased in April of 2020 and have been issued every month since then. Many recipients may not realize that they have been receiving extra monthly benefits, and if they do not use them, they will eventually disappear. For some recipients, these emergency allotments are a substantial amount of money. For example, a single recipient who might normally be eligible to receive $16 a month is now receiving the maximum amount of $204.
Anyone on SNAP can verify their current balance by calling the phone number on the back of their card. SNAP recipients have a year to spend their benefit money on food, or plants and seeds to grow food for their household to eat, after which any unused money disappears from their account on a rolling month-by-month basis.
The first payment of emergency benefits, from this past April, will disappear in April 2021 if it’s not used by then. For now, the emergency benefits appear set to continue as long as both Tennessee and the federal government remain under a state of emergency, and as long as the Department of Human Services continues to seek federal approval to issue the benefits. Right now, the increased benefits are approved through September 2021.