Americans currently on food stamps will see their monthly allotment raised by almost 30 percent, thanks to a change in policy from the Biden administration.
CNN reported that following a review of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, Americans who count on money for food will be given an extra $36 a month starting in October.
That is an increase of over 29 percent since before the coronavirus pandemic, and before skyrocketing inflation began creating headaches for not just poor Americans, but for all people living on a budget this year.
According to CNN, before the pandemic began, individuals using the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program were receiving $121 per person, per month.
All 42 million SNAP beneficiaries will now receive $157 monthly after a review by the Department of Agriculture for the 2018 Farm Bill. NPR previously reported this to be the single largest increase in benefits since the inception of the SNAP program.
The increase will raise the $79 billion program’s cost an additional $20 billion, according to The New York Times.
The USDA announced in an August news release that it would bolster spending limits for the program starting on Friday, the beginning of fiscal year 2022.
“As directed by Congress in the 2018 Farm Bill — and with the expressed support of President Biden’s January 22 Executive Order — USDA conducted a data-driven review of the Thrifty Food Plan,” the agency said.
“The resulting cost adjustment is the first time the purchasing power of the plan has changed since it was first introduced in 1975, reflecting notable shifts in the food marketplace and consumers’ circumstances over the past 45 years.”
When raising benefit amounts, the USDA said it took into account current food prices, typical diets, dietary guidance, and nutrients.
“For example, the revised plan includes more fish and red and orange vegetables to align with recommendations in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2020-2025,” the USDA said.
“Additionally, the plan was calculated using updated purchasing data — collected from stores versus self-reported by households — to reflect the current price of foods in today’s marketplace.
“The revised Thrifty Food Plan also includes a modest increase in calories to reflect the latest data and support an active lifestyle,” the agency added.
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack called the increase in monthly payouts to SNAP recipients an “investment” in the country.
“A modernized Thrifty Food Plan is more than a commitment to good nutrition – it’s an investment in our nation’s health, economy, and security,” Vilsack said in a statement.
“Ensuring low-income families have access to a healthy diet helps prevent disease, supports children in the classroom, reduces health care costs, and more,” he added. “And the additional money families will spend on groceries helps grow the food economy, creating thousands of new jobs along the way.”
The USDA said one out of every eight Americans are currently on food stamps. The agency in its news release partially attributed that to the pandemic.
“Evidence is clear that SNAP increases food security, including among households with children who have been disproportionately impacted by hunger during COVID,” the agency said.
In a Jan. 22 White House fact sheet on economic issues, which the USDA cited in its release, President Joe Biden blamed nationwide issues, such as hunger, on “systemic racism.”
Biden at the time recommended extending the pandemic-imposed 15 percent increase in SNAP benefits.
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