DES MOINES, Iowa — Unless she is using her walker, Tara Kramer of Des Moines knows that strangers may not see her pain. That pain, she says, is getting much worse. And she doesn’t mean the physical pain. Kramer said that she suffers from a rare genetic disorder that causes gnawing pain and mobility challenges.

Read more about Ehlers-Danlos syndrome and its impact on the human body.

The additional pain that Kramer said she feels these days is the emotional toll that followed reduced monthly help with her food bills. For the past two years during the COVID-19 pandemic, Kramer said that her monthly check through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (S.N.A.P.) had increased to $250 per month. That combined with her disability check allowed her to pay her rent and other bills, purchase healthier, fresh food and afford a daily nutritional shake that she said had her feeling better than she had in quite some time.

The Iowa Department of Human Services explains the benefit reductions to their pre-pandemic levels here.

But following Governor Kim Reynolds’ decision to end her emergency COVID-19 health declaration, Kramer’s monthly benefits this month have now dropped by about 90% to $20 per month. Kramer said that she is back to worrying about how to afford food and medicine.

Nearly one in nine Iowans receives assistance through S.N.A.P.