Upon announcing changes to SNAP EBT beginning October 2021, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack described the plan as an “investment in our nation’s health, economy and security.” Since 2006, SNAP benefits have not changed despite differences in affordability. The benefits program, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, was first introduced in 1988. The program, run by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, supplements the food budget of recipients.
SNAP benefits are increasing by 25% in the new plan. The Biden Administration is expanding its budget from 90 billion to 117 billion. Biden passed an executive order pushing the USDA to review the Thrifty Food Plan (TFP). The TFP evaluates the costs/ contents of food for families. The evaluation found that the cost of food today is 21% higher than in 2006 when the TFP was last updated. It discovered that 90% of SNAP recipients are living under the poverty line.
In Virginia, the budget for SNAP will increase from $1238 million to $1575 million in October. With the increase, SNAP recipients will receive an additional $36.24 per person per month. For a household of one person, SNAP will supplement a maximum of $250 per month. In a household of two people, $459 per month. Households of three people will collect up to $658 per month, and households of four people will receive up to $835 per month.
Why the Increase:
The new amounts account for a greater need for culturally relevant, nutritious, and specialty diet foods. They factor in the costs of purchasing the cooking equipment necessary for certain foods. They also consider the role of systematic racism and how it influenced the original TFP.
Despite this move towards a better SNAP, there’s still a lot of work to do toward ending food insecurity. For people living in Fairfax County, the Urban Institute reported that the average meal costs $2.77. The amount per meal for SNAP recipients, although improved, remains far less. As we look towards the future of food insecurity, supporting your local food banks and nonprofits remains equally important. If you, or someone you know, has questions about signing up for SNAP or signing up to receive food at Food for Others, please contact us.