PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — A Rhode Island lawmaker has introduced legislation to ensure that Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients will continue to receive additional benefits.

The additional SNAP benefits were first given during the height of the pandemic, when recipients would receive a minimum of $95 to put toward their groceries on top of their monthly payment.

The added federal benefits are set to expire on March 1, which means February’s allotment was the last boosted payment.

In Rhode Island, Rep. David Morales is looking to extend those added benefits through the remainder of the year.

“Across every city and town, we have a total of over 80,000 households in our state that depend on SNAP to access nutritious food and their daily groceries,” Morales said. “With increasing food costs and supply chain issues, our working people, families and seniors can’t afford to see a reduction in their SNAP benefits.”

“Even with a lack of federal support, our state has the responsibility to step up and help our neighbors,” he added.

Morales’ legislation would bring back the boosted benefits for Rhode Islanders beginning July 1 and ending Dec. 31.

“During the height of the pandemic, increased federal and state support for SNAP helped reduce childhood hunger and poverty,” Morales said. “While we made clear and meaningful progress, it is alarming to see us falling backwards as we still have neighbors who are struggling with food insecurity.”

“By passing this legislation, however, we will protect our working people, families, and seniors who are losing additional benefits to no fault of their own,” he continued.

Morales expects the state to pay for the added benefits using general revenue or American Rescue Plan Act funding.

The bill has been assigned to the R.I. House Finance Committee and is scheduled for a hearing in April.

In the meantime, those in need of food assistance can call United Way of Rhode Island’s 211 hotline for help.