(INDIANAPOLIS) – Hoosiers on food stamps will receive 95 dollars a month less starting in May.
Governor Holcomb asked legislators in November to pave the way for the end of Indiana’s health emergency by passing a law preserving expanded Medicaid and food stamp benefits. The Trump Administration increased those benefits when the pandemic hit, and the Biden Administration increased them further last April.
Holcomb had asked to keep the extra money in place for as long as a federal health emergency remains in effect. But legislators instead extended them only through April 16. That’s when the federal emergency is scheduled to expire, but like Indiana’s emergency, it’s been extended repeatedly.
Holcomb signed the bill last week, along with the executive order ending Indiana’s emergency. He told reporters earlier this month the April cutoff was a change he could live with. He notes the cutoff rolls back benefits to where they were before the pandemic hit, and says that’s appropriate as the pandemic’s health and economic effects wane.
Benefits will actually be slightly higher than before the pandemic, due to an unrelated increase approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in October.
Senate Democrats voted against the bill in protest of the benefit cutoff. But House Democrats voted overwhelmingly in favor. Minority Leader Phil GiaQuinta (D-Fort Wayne) said after the vote he’s disappointed at the expiration date, but says it’s unclear how much longer the federal emergency will remain in effect.
13 Democratic governors asked the White House last week to extend the emergency until mid-July. Last month, 76 House Republicans, including Indiana’s Greg Pence and Larry Bucshon, sent the White House a letter calling for the declaration’s end.
The White House hasn’t said whether it’ll extend the federal emergency again, but has said it would give states 60 days’ notice before any changes to the declaration. That self-imposed deadline passed February 15.