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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2021 - 2022 Regular Session


Posted: January 6, 2021 03:27 PM
From: Senator David G. Argall and Sen. Patrick J. Stefano
To: All Senate members
Subject: Establishing uniform timeframe for distribution of SNAP benefits in Pennsylvania
In the near future, we plan to re-introduce legislation that would establish a uniform, statewide time period for the distribution of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits. This legislation is being re-introduced based on concerns raised during a meeting of the Senate Majority Policy Committee in 2016.

Whereas other states have set timeframes for the disbursement of SNAP benefits on a statewide level, Pennsylvania distributes these benefits 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.

This 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.

Previous co-sponsors of this legislation include Senators Phillips-Hill, Regan, Yaw, and White.  

Introduced as SB571