25% Boost in SNAP Benefits Coming Soon

Let’s get into this Social Security update where we’ll be discussing the upcoming 25% boost in SNAP benefits which will be taking effect shortly and has the potential to help millions of low-income seniors around the country get more money in their pocket for food expenses. Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients have been getting a 15% boost since December 2020, but that increase is set to expire September 30th. However, we will soon see a major revamp to food benefits, which have been a lifeline for millions of Americans during the pandemic.

In August, the Biden administration announced that it would implement a permanent increase to SNAP benefits, starting October 1st. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has announced a change to the way food costs are calculated. This change is part of a reevaluation of the Thrifty Food Plan, which was mandated by Congress in the 2018 Farm Bill. Beginning October 1st, 2021, households who receive SNAP will see an average 25% increase in their monthly SNAP benefits. This permanent increase, combined with the current emergency allotment in place since the start of the pandemic, means families will see a modest increase in their food benefits starting in October. The permanent boost comes as American households are still struggling with food insecurity. More than 7% of households said they sometimes or often didn’t have enough to eat as of the end of August, according to the U.S Census Bureau’s weekly Household Pulse survey. Households with children saw an even larger response of more than 9%.

So how exactly are benefits expected to change? A temporary SNAP boost was implemented during the pandemic to help struggling Americans manage food costs when many found themselves out of work for extended periods of time. The boost provided a 15% increase in SNAP benefits, or about $27 more per person each month. That boost is on top of the CalFresh emergency allotments, which granted each state’s household $95 or more in additional SNAP funds each month to reach the maximum benefit amount. Only a handful of states, such as Arkansas and Idaho, have ended these emergency allotments. States are authorized to offer them as long as there’s a declared federal public health emergency and an emergency or disaster declaration issued in the participating state.

Between the 15% SNAP boost and emergency allotment, the average monthly food benefit per person currently sits at $240. However, when the permanent increase to SNAP benefits starts on October 1st, beneficiaries will see a modest increase to their average monthly benefit, at least while the emergency allotment remains in place. The average monthly benefit per person will rise to $251. As for when the emergency allotment ends, as of now, there is no expiration date and thus, the average monthly benefit per person will drop to $169. Although it’s lower than what recipients are receiving during the public health emergency, it’s still higher than what they would have received without the permanent increase. Adjusted for inflation, households would have only received $133 under the old pre-pandemic SNAP guidelines. Now in addition to SNAP benefits, you may also find it beneficial to take advantage of other benefits you may be eligible for.

There are additional programs that can help Americans afford food, including the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children—also known as WIC. This program targets low-income pregnant, breastfeeding and postpartum women with infants or children up to five years of age. Read more about how to apply for WIC at the link in the description. Also, all public schools will give students free lunches for the 2021-2022 school year, regardless of their family’s financial situation. Taking advantage of this program would mean your children could have two meals covered each day, freeing up some of your cash benefits through other programs.

Additionally, make sure you’re receiving a monthly child tax credit payment if eligible. This monthly payment could definitely help families afford food costs if the emergency allotments drop while the expanded child tax credit is still in effect. There’s talk amongst lawmakers about making the child tax credit payment expansion permanent, but it’s unclear as of now if it will happen.

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