Empower Missouri and its Food Security Coalition applaud this week’s announcement that a long overdue federal increase in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits will be taking place on October 1. On Monday, the USDA released a report in which they re-calculated the Thrifty Food Plan, the calculation used to set benefit levels for SNAP, the country’s primary food assistance program for low-income families. The new calculation will increase the SNAP allotment for families across the board.
The release of this report and the benefit update 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), to better reflect current information and food costs. Previously, the purchasing power of the Thrifty Food Plan had not been updated for 45 years.
“This update is long overdue. SNAP benefits are not adequate to feed a family and are getting less adequate every year. Each of us are well aware of how much food prices have increased over the years. During that same time, SNAP benefits did not reflect the same increases, and thus, SNAP recipients’ purchasing power had continually declined. This update will drastically help SNAP families,” Empower Missouri’s Food Security Policy Manager Christine Woody said.
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the state has given waivers to Missourians allowing them to obtain the maximum SNAP benefit even if they would normally qualify for a lower allotment. That program ends at the end of August. There has also been a temporary 15 percent increase to the SNAP benefits to provide additional food to cash-strapped families during the pandemic, but that additional benefit is set to end in September.
Starting in October, families will start receiving the additional benefit based on the new calculations. These calculations 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 is 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,” Woody said.
Empower Missouri is home to the Missouri Food Security Coalition and welcomes participation by people experiencing hunger and those who serve them. Details may be found at: https://empowermissouri.org/food-security-coalition/
Empower Missouri (www.EmpowerMissouri.org), a statewide not-for-profit organization, was founded in 1901 to solve the underlying issues driving poverty in our state. Through advocacy, research and education, Empower Missouri works collaboratively with community members, nonprofit organizations and state and federal policy makers to build an understanding of systemic poverty and its role in Missouri. Our goal is to ensure all Missourians have access to affordable housing, adequate and nutritious food, and equal justice in their communities.