ATLANTA — Some families that collect Social Security payments might be looking forward to a bigger check this month.
The 8.7% t cost of living increase took effect on Jan. 1, marking the largest adjustment in four decades. But some recipients tell 11Alive that increase is impacting their benefits for other government assistance they depend on.
Can an increase in Social Security benefits mean changes to SNAP benefits?
Yes, it's true some families may see a drop in SNAP benefits due to the Social Security cost of living adjustment.
WHAT WE FOUND
SNAP is a critical food assistance program helping lower income families buy groceries each month, and the USDA estimates 47% of SNAP households also receive Social Security benefits.
The USDA warns on its website that households that receive both sets of benefits may see a drop in their SNAP dollars beginning in January.
That's because SNAP is based on income, and the increased Social Security payment can push families into a higher income bracket, reducing the food benefits they qualify for.
According to a spokesperson for the Georgia Department of Human Services, 126,740 households in the state could see a smaller SNAP payment starting this month as a result of the change. The department said the difference is around $38 per household.
When 11Alive asked whether recipients were notified, spokesperson Kylie Winton said beneficiaries received notice in early January of the change. For families dealing with the adjustment on SNAP or other programs, DHS recommends recipients document medical, childcare and shelter deductions to ensure maximum benefits.
So yes, we can verify it's true some families may see a drop in SNAP benefits due to the social security increase, and the USDA warns some people could get pushed past the income limit and no longer qualify at all.
But the agency maintains that impacted families will still see a boost in benefits overall, writing "the households will still experience a net gain, as the decrease in SNAP benefits is less than the increase in Social Security benefits."