SNAP Benefits to Increase in Fiscal Year 2021
2020 has been a difficult year but in every tragedy, there is triumph. The USDA has decided to increase SNAP benefits for the upcoming fiscal year. SNAP participants will receive more assistance to support them during 2021. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) released a statement to the public announcing a more than 5% increase in the cost of the Thrifty Food Plan from last year.
This will give every SNAP participant more purchasing power when they are trying to feed themselves and their families. This increase is more than double the 20-year annual average increase of around 2%. Based on this new update, beginning October 1, 2020, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) participants’ maximum monthly benefit allotment will be at the highest level in the history of the program. This adjustment in SNAP benefits complements the many actions USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service has taken to date to help American families put food on the table during the coronavirus pandemic. Other measures include:
- Allowing states to issue emergency supplemental SNAP benefits totaling more than $2 billion per month, increasing SNAP benefits by 40%;
- Expanding the online purchasing pilot to 47 states, covering more than 90% of all SNAP households;
- Waiving certain administrative requirements to make it easier for states to serve their SNAP clients during the pandemic;
- Implementing Pandemic EBT, which is providing benefits similar to SNAP to 99% of children normally receiving free or reduced-price school meals;
- Debuting the “Meals for Kids” interactive site finder to help families find free meals for children at more than 77,000 locations while schools are closed;
- Supporting food banks with over $6 billion worth of food and administrative resources;
- Providing a $50 million boost in food assistance through the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations; and
- Supporting the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service’s Farmers to Families Food Box program, which is delivering American-grown and produced foods to low-income households.
This will lead to more emphasis on the SNAP education programs that are dedicated to empowering SNAP-Ed participants when they are exercising, shopping, planning, budgeting, cooking, and eating. Steps to Health is also dedicated to expanding its virtual outreach in order to connect with every county in North Carolina.
For more information, read the full article here.