USDA makes historic increase for SNAP benefits

“A modernized Thrifty Food Plan is more than a commitment to good nutrition – it’s an investment in our nation’s health, economy, and security.”

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Yesterday the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced a re-evaluation of the Thrifty Food Plan, which is used to determine eligibility for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits.

And Progressives are very happy with the results: an approval, from the Biden administration, for the largest permanent expansion of food benefits for this program that will go into effect starting October 1, 2021. 

Anti-poverty advocates say this expansion will help improve health and educational outcomes for millions of low-income households in need of financial support, reports Common Dreams

Eating healthy and meeting recommended nutritional needs has become more costly over time, but the SNAP program has not adjusted for inflation since it was first established in 1975 until now.

“A modernized Thrifty Food Plan is more than a commitment to good nutrition – it’s an investment in our nation’s health, economy, and security. Ensuring low-income families have access to a healthy diet helps prevent disease, supports children in the classroom, reduces health care costs, and more. And the additional money families will spend on groceries helps grow the food economy, creating thousands of new jobs along the way,” says Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.

According to USDA website, the reevaluation concluded that the cost of a nutritious, practical, cost effective diet is 21% higher than the current Thrifty Food Plan. As a result, the average SNAP benefit – excluding additional funds provided as part of pandemic relief – will increase by $36.24 per person, per month, or $1.19 per day.

“The updated Thrifty Food Plan better reflects the way families live today, where working households do not have unlimited hours to prepare food from scratch and modern dietary guidelines advise a wider variety of foods, particularly leafy greens and lean proteins, which can be more costly,” says Lisa Davis, senior vice president at Share Our Strength. 

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