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Five impacts COVID-19 is having on low-income Americans

Fresh EBT is a free mobile app that helps over 4 million low-income families manage their SNAP benefits. Through the app, users can access daily savings, income-eligible programs, and local employment opportunities, all available from partner organizations.


Conducting monthly surveys

Undeniably, the COVID-19 crisis is having a devastating impact on low-income Americans. To understand how the circumstances in the lives of Fresh EBT users are changing, we have been conducting surveys each month. In sharing the key insights below, we hope that individuals, organizations, and businesses will better understand the changing needs and realities of low-income families and step up for those in need.






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October 2020 key findings

The following insights come from a 6-minute multiple choice and open response survey conducted by Fresh EBT to a random sample of 2,592 Fresh EBT users from October 1 - 14, 2020. 


Over half of Fresh EBT app users said they have worked in 2020, but less than a third are working right now.

Source: Random sample of Fresh EBT users

Respondents who had been working prior to the pandemic continue to report high rates of unemployment and underemployment.


of Fresh EBT app users are currently working full time or part time, but...


report working this year at some point.


report starting a new job since March.


Of those that are working, over ⅓ report making less than $549 a month.



20% of Fresh EBT users haven’t received their EIP, and only 8% of those report being ineligible for the stimulus payment.

Source: Random sample of Fresh EBT users

32% who did not get their Economic Impact Payment do not know why they did not get their EIP.

Of those who did not get their EIP:


report that they were claimed on someone else’s taxes, with or without their knowledge.


have submitted paperwork or taxes, but have not yet received their EIP.


report that the payment went to the wrong bank account.

Of those who received their EIP we asked:
What did you do with your stimulus payment?



More people have moved permanently in the past 30 days compared to the 30 days prior.

Source: Random sample of Fresh EBT users


of Fresh EBT households have moved permanently in the past 30 days.


of Fresh EBT households had moved permanently in the 30 days prior.

Partner Highlight

Fresh EBT is partnering with the Kentucky Equal Justice Center to highlight a tool that helps renters generate and send declarations to their landlord to get protection from eviction under the CDC's Eviction Order.

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2,500+ households generated a declaration in early October



Government support has helped but many programs are ending and more support is needed to cover everyday expenses.

Source: Random sample of Fresh EBT users

If government could help with one thing:

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32% help with rent

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27% help with utilities

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27% help with food

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4% help with transportation assistance

I have gone on Medicaid, received the stimulus payment and the extra SNAP benefits
and was able to pay off a large amount to P.G.E.
This has given me a little breathing room.

- Judy, OR

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Government support has helped, but more support is needed, especially to cover everyday expenses.

In the past 30 Days:



think the money they have right now will last them 1-2 days.


are running low or do not have most things that their household needs (like food and cleaning supplies). 



Challenges exist for all respondents, but are exacerbated for families with school-age children.

Source: Random sample of Fresh EBT users

Families with school age children are more likely to:


Be working


Have borrowed money or used credit to cover expenses in the last 30 days


Have skipped paying a bill in the last 30 days


Have less than 3 days of cash on hand


Be running low on (or out of) everyday things like food, household products and cleaning supplies


Report spending more than $200-$300+ a month on food (not including SNAP, WIC or P-EBT benefits)

I have given money to friends and family, and I don't want it back. They offer to pay it back and I tell them to pay it forward.

- Joz, RI

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Well I borrowed money from family and friends to afford my rent when I was not working due to the pandemic. I am in debt with many and it’s very stressful.

- Mom, NJ

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My sister in law passed away at 56 from Covid and did not have life insurance. I gave my brother all of my stimulus so he could pay the funeral home to bury her.

- Larry, NC

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I help whenever I can, whether it is helping someone with a little food or giving a ride or just lending an ear. ... Recently my adult daughter was admitted (discharged today) into the hospital (stayed 1 week), I have been having issues with the starter in my truck, so a friend loaned me her car for the whole week my daughter was in the hospital.

- Katrina, ME

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I had a baby in August and have had to rely on friends and family for diapers and clothes etc. My grandpa invites me over for dinner a lot because even with foodstamps for my baby and me it's hard to afford everything we need, especially me to support a healthy milk supply.

- Ashley, AK

At my work a lady brings us strawberries sometimes, when I left there was a homeless man asking for help outside our store, I gave him the strawberries I had received.

- Angelina, CA

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Let’s connect

General Inquiries

For any questions, interest in partnership opportunities, or additional information, get in touch.

Monthly Newsletter

Sign-up to receive Propel's household impact newsletter for regular updates on how SNAP households are faring.

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