WASHINGTON, D.C., USA — Americans who collect food stamps are now seeing a huge increase in their benefits.
The average boost of 27 percent in food stamps marks the largest increase in the history of the safety-net program; a program the Biden Administration is working to strengthen.
This means households who benefit from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, could see a rise of about $36 a month under the revised Thrifty Food Plan, according to CBS News.
The increase coincides with the end of a 15 percent boost in SNAP benefits that was ordered as a pandemic protection measure. That benefit expired at the end of September.
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said that with the change, the U.S. "will do a better job of providing healthy food for low-income families."
The aid boost is being packaged as a major revision to the USDA’s Thrifty Food Plan, which estimates the cost to purchase groceries for a family of four and guides the way the government calculates benefits, the Associated Press reports.
In practical terms, the average monthly per-person benefits for qualified recipients went from $121 to $157.
Vilsack said the increased funding will allow families to “be able to make healthy choices” all month long.
SNAP benefit recipients can expect to fully see the increase by Nov. 1.
President and CEO of Feeding Tampa Bay Thomas Mantz says this historic increase couldn't have come at a better time.
The local food bank serves low-income individuals and families across 10 counties in the Tampa Bay region. But, Feeding Tampa Bay's secondary mission is to connect eligible people to SNAP so that the one meal they desperately need can be turned into nine.
Around 1.5 million people across the Tampa Bay area are eligible for SNAP benefits, according to Mantz. The greatest barrier eligible people face is not knowing they qualify for benefits.
The best way to find out if you qualify for benefits, Mantz says organizations like Feeding Tampa Bay to inquire or visit the SNAP benefit.