(Pittsburgh) — A legal settlement between the U.S. Department of Agriculture and two Pennsylvania women who are food stamp recipients will result in $712 million in additional food stamp benefits for more than 650,000 of the lowest-income Pennsylvania households.
The settlement, which was announced Wednesday, follows months of litigation as well as a change in leadership at the federal agency after Joe Biden defeated Donald Trump in November.
At the center of the lawsuit was extra assistance for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients included as part of The Families First Coronavirus Response Act, a bill passed by Congress in March 2020. However, the USDA, which administers the program, interpreted the law to mean the extra aid could only bring recipients up to the maximum benefit amount. That left those who were already receiving the maximum benefits – the lowest income families and individuals, representing about 40% of households in the program – with no additional aid during the pandemic.