The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is one of the most far reaching, anti-poverty programs in our country. Over 42 million individuals are helped each month by the support SNAP provides. Last week, The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) released the 2021 Thrifty Food Plan Report. Within that report, they announced that they are “re-evaluating the Thrifty Food Plan (TFP) to ensure that it reflects the cost of a practical, nutritious, budget-conscious diet. The re-evaluation is based on four factors: the cost of food, nutrients in food, nutrition guidance, and what Americans eat.” The release of this report and the benefit update announcement comes after Congress directed the USDA within the bipartisan 2018 Farm Bill to reevaluate the Thrifty Food Plan by 2022 (and in 5 year intervals thereafter), Thus, starting on October 1, this re-calculation will trigger a long overdue increase in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits for families across the country.
This benefit level increase is a step in the right direction to making SNAP benefits more adequate for families served by the program. The re-calculation will increase the maximum SNAP benefit by 21 percent (not including the regular annual inflation adjustment, which this year is about 1.5 percent), which for the average benefit means moving from $4.25 per person per day to about $5.45 per person per day. This increase will allow families to access more food each month and give them the resources to purchase more nutritious (which oftentimes is more expensive) food, which will have far reaching effects for families, children and senior citizens. Research study after research study has shown that good nutrition will increase academic performance for children, increase health outcomes for children and support a longer and healthier life for senior citizens.
While Empower Missouri acknowledges that this increase is a positive step for SNAP adequacy, there is more work to be done to ensure all eligible families are accessing this program, the application process is simple and straightforward and that families that are on SNAP have access to grocery stores and farmers markets that have fresh and healthy food available. In order to do this work, Empower Missouri convenes a Food Security Coalition and welcomes participation by people experiencing hunger and those who serve them. Details on that coalition may be found at: http://empowermissouri.org/food-security-coalition/. We hope you will join us!
- To read the USDA Report Thrifty Food Plan 2021, CLICK HERE
- To learn more about the Thrifty Food Plan, CLICK HERE
- To learn more about how SNAP helps low income seniors, CLICK HERE
- To learn more about how SNAP helps children, CLICK HERE
Food Security Policy Manager