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Local mom hit hard by loss of additional Nutritional Assistance

Arizona Nutritional Assistance Emergency Allotment ending this month
AZ DES
Posted at 4:02 PM, Apr 25, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-25 20:06:20-04

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — Arizona households receiving food benefits will no longer get the additional benefits they were receiving during the pandemic after this month. The additional funding is ending since Arizona's State of Emergency Declaration ended on March 30, 2022.

KGUN 9 spoke with Heather Thatcher a single mom of two, who says she doesn't know what she'll do once her benefits go down, especially with the state of inflation. Thatcher works 40 hours a week and relies on Arizona's Department of Economic Security Nutritional Assistance Program to help her make ends meet and feed her kids.

"My Benefits right now are currently $600. Pre- COVID...I wasn't even making $400," Thatcher said.

Thatcher says after this month her nutritional assistance from the state will go down about $200. For her and her two kids, that's one week of groceries.

"It's a big deal. It's gonna hurt me in the sense of the $600 that I'm getting now is still not feeding us all," Thatcher said. "I'm still having to reach out to food pantries, get food boxes, get help from family when they can help."

KGUN 9 reached out to officials at AZ DES who provided the following statement:

DES and its community partners have a variety of food assistance programs [des.az.gov] that can help support families in need. DES also provides a variety of assistance programs beyond hunger relief, including Medical Assistance, Unemployment Insurance, Emergency Rental Assistance, Child Care Assistance and more.

During the Arizona Public Health Emergency, eligible Arizona households have been receiving Nutrition Assistance (NA) Emergency Allotments in addition to their current monthly NA benefit amount to help address temporary food needs during the public health emergency. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service allowed states to issue the assistance only during the duration of the state’s emergency declaration; once the emergency declaration ends, states are only approved to issue one additional gap month of the emergency allotment. Per federal guidelines, these additional benefits are ending following the expiration of Arizona’s State of Emergency Declaration on March 30, 2022, and the April NA emergency allotment is the last emergency benefit that the Arizona Department of Economic Security (DES) will issue.

For households that were receiving the maximum NA allotment for their household size, their monthly emergency allotment was an additional $95 in benefits. For those households that were not already receiving the maximum allotment for their household size, they were issued the full maximum amount of benefits for the household size. Eligible households received an average of just over $200 in emergency allotment benefits each month.

DES and its community partners have a variety of food assistance programs [des.az.gov] that can help support families in need. DES also provides a variety of assistance programs beyond hunger relief, including Medical Assistance, Unemployment Insurance, Emergency Rental Assistance, Child Care Assistance and more.
AZ DES

For more information on additional food assistance programs available through DES, click here.

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Denelle Confair is an anchor and reporter for KGUN 9. Denelle is proud to call Southern Arizona home. It's been her dream to tell your stories for the past decade. She is extremely curious and wants to continue to use her storytelling for the greater good.
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