In 2020, almost one in four households experienced food insecurity. Fortunately, the U.S. Department of Agriculture under the Biden Administration just took a huge step to reduce hunger in the United States by permanently expanding Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits.
The USDA just took a huge step to reduce hunger in the United State by permanently expanding nutrition benefits.
SNAP is America’s largest nutrition assistance program. Under existing benefits, families have struggled to feed themselves. Not only was food hard to afford, but many found that healthy foods—which are more expensive—were out of reach.
The pandemic exasperated this hardship. In response Congress approved a 15% temporary boost in maximum SNAP benefits through the American Rescue Plan. That assistance is set to expire Oct. 1. As it sunsets, the permanent increase will kick in. Recipients can expect to see SNAP benefits increase by 21%, an average additional $36.24 dollars per person each month.
The impact of expanding SNAP benefits goes beyond immediate relief for the 42 million Americas who rely on the program—80% of whom are elderly, children, or members of other vulnerable groups. Increased benefits will allow families to afford more nutritious food, which advances overall health outcomes. This change is also good for the economy. Nutrition benefits are quickly spent in local communities, which has a positive multiplier effect across the entire food system
The program was last updated in 2006. It is worth noting that the review and modernization of these benefits was made possible because Congress requested it as part of its 2018 Farm Bill. FCNL advocates worked hard over months to ensure that Congress protected and strengthened SNAP provisions as they negotiated that bill. This expansion of benefits is just one example of the important difference your advocacy continues to make in the lives of our neighbors.
While food insecurity is still a big problem in the United States, this win is a great step toward defeating hunger.