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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: February 21, 2017 12:14 PM
From: Senator David G. Argall and Sen. Guy Reschenthaler, Sen. Patrick J. Stefano, Sen. Mario M. Scavello
To: All Senate members
Subject: Establishing uniform timeframe for distribution of SNAP benefits in Pennsylvania
In the near future, we will introduce legislation that would establish a uniform statewide time period for the distribution of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits based on concerns raised during a Senate Majority Policy Committee public hearing on June 14, 2016.

Other states have set timeframes for the disbursement of SNAP benefits on a statewide level. For example, Florida recently updated their statewide distribution schedule to span from 15 days to 28 days which was phased in over a two-month period.

Pennsylvania, however, distributes on a county-by-county basis. There are three different schedules counties follow, depending on the number of recipients of SNAP benefits in that particular county. Several rural counties distribute SNAP benefits over one day each month; several rural and some larger counties distribute over a two-day period each month; while a third of the state, mostly larger counties, distribute benefits over a 10-day period.

Retailers that testified at the Policy Committee hearing argued that spacing out the distribution of SNAP benefits over the course of a month will allow their stores to be properly stocked and staffed. They advocate spreading out payments over a fixed period to help provide consistent product availability and effectively meet the needs of customers who receive and use SNAP benefits.

Our legislation would establish a uniform timeframe of when SNAP benefits would be distributed by the state over a 25-day period. The department will establish the guidelines necessary to meet the requirements of the legislation and will have six months to comply.

Introduced as SB568