Food stamp benefits to jump 12.5% ​​from October due to inflation

Food stamp benefits to jump 12.5% ​​from October due to inflation



CNN

In October, it will be a little easier for food stamp recipients to buy groceries.

Their monthly benefits increase by 12.5%, or $104 for a family of four, thanks to soaring inflation, according to the US Department of Agriculture. This brings the maximum benefit for this household size to $939 per month, up from $835 previously.

Benefit levels are based on the cost of the USDA Thrifty Food Plan each June, and the change takes effect in October.

This year’s cost-of-living adjustment is the largest annual percentage increase since the Thrifty Food Plan was developed in 1975 and stems from the massive rise in inflation since last year.

“This will better align the benefits of SNAP with the rising cost of food over the past year,” said Dottie Rosenbaum, director of federal policy for SNAP at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP. , because food stamps are officially known.

Nearly 41 million people were enrolled in the food stamp program in June, according to the most recent USDA data. The average monthly benefit is just over $218 per person.

Even with this significant adjustment, food stamp recipients are already lagging behind as inflation has continued to rise since June.

Grocery prices jumped 13.5% in August, according to the most recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Egg prices soared nearly 40%, while milk rose 17% and bread 16%. The cost of chicken increased by 16%, while fruits and vegetables increased by more than 9%.

Higher food costs are straining the budgets of many Americans, including those who receive food stamps. Many turn to pantries to supplement what they buy at the supermarket.

Some 40% of Feeding America network pantries and soup kitchens saw an increase in the number of people served in July compared to June, according to a recent survey by the anti-hunger group. Another 40% said demand remained at about the same level.

Many food stamp recipients are still benefiting from a Covid-19 pandemic relief package that Congress passed at the start of the outbreak. Lawmakers increased enrollees’ monthly food stamp allowance to the maximum amount for their family size — a minimum of $95 per month. Some 34 states and the District of Columbia still have this program in place.

A separate 15% increase in benefits ended a year ago.

Those who receive food stamps also received a major permanent increase in benefits last year when the USDA revised its Thrifty Food Plan formula. This resulted in a $36 per person increase in monthly allowances.

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