About 1 in 8 American families will soon be able to fill their grocery carts with more food to feed their families.
The Biden administration announced the largest increase in the federal supplemental nutrition assistance program, or SNAP – commonly known as food stamps – in the program’s 46-year history.
Households that juggle multiple bills, repay debts and struggle to meet their shelter costs will be better able to afford the key ingredients essential to healthy eating.
About 42 million people, representing 12% of American families, rely on SNAP benefits to get food on the table. On October 1, they will see their monthly amounts increase by around 30% on average.
Food stamp dollars and cents are increasing
Food stamps were increased last year for the COVID pandemic, but it was a temporary measure to help families weather the worst of the crisis. It will expire on September 30.
But the next day, the new permanent change to the program will dramatically increase the benefits of their pre-pandemic levels. The goal is to help people include more fish and vegetables in their diet.
“Too many of our fellow Americans are struggling to afford healthy meals,” says Stacy Dean, USDA Assistant Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services. “The revised plan is a step towards giving them the support they need to feed their families.”
On average, each recipient will receive an additional $ 36.24 per month, or $ 1.19 per day, the USDA said in a press release.
The typical monthly SNAP benefit per person will increase from $ 121 before the pandemic to $ 157, an increase of about 29.8%.
What the increase means for a family of 4
SNAP households typically used more than 75% of their benefits by the middle of each month, according to USDA data.
Officials expect the increased benefits, along with the “family stimulus checks” from this year’s expanded child tax credit, will mean fewer families are running out of money for food or cannot afford it. allow basic necessities.
The children’s credit payments are already working. The first checks in July coincided with a 3% drop in households with children experiencing food shortages, according to the US Census Bureau.
The increase in food stamps will raise the maximum possible benefit for a family of four to $ 835 per month. That’s up from the current pandemic amount of $ 782, and it’s way ahead of the pre-COVID maximum of $ 680 per month for a four-person household.
SNAP’s push will have a broad and positive impact, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said: “The extra money families will spend on groceries helps grow the food economy, creating thousands of new ones. jobs along the way.
What to do if you can’t get food stamps
If you don’t qualify for SNAP but are struggling to get by, here are a few ways to make more room for yourself in your budget.
Manage your debt. If you’ve been relying on credit cards to get through the pandemic, the costly interest must catch up with you now. Manage your balances by consolidating them into one debt consolidation loan, which will lower the cost of your debt and help you pay it off faster.
Lower your insurance costs. If you haven’t looked for a better rate on your auto insurance lately, you could easily overpay hundreds of dollars a year. A little comparison will help you find a better rate. The same strategy also works well for getting a lower price for home insurance.
Make every penny count. When ordering online to stock up on essentials, use a free browser extension that will automatically scan the Internet for better prices and coupons.
Turn your money into a wallet. Don’t assume the investment is too expensive or intimidating. A popular app will allow you to earn returns in today’s scorching stock market simply by investing your “coin” from your daily purchases.
This article provides information only and should not be construed as advice. It is provided without warranty of any kind.