Alabama snap increase

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Historic increase in food stamp benefits starts in October

In this Jan. 12, 2015 file photo, a supermarket displays stickers indicating they accept food...
Published: Oct. 1, 2021 at 2:49 AM CDT

(CNN) - Food stamp recipients will see their monthly payments go up in October thanks to a major update to the program.

Benefits will jump an average of 27% above pre-pandemic levels.

It is the largest increase in the program’s history.

The update comes as part of a Department of Agriculture review of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program as required under the 2018 Farm Bill.

More than 42.3 million people were enrolled in the program in June, up from nearly 37 million in February 2020.

Copyright 2021 CNN Newsource. All rights reserved.

Sours: https://www.wsfa.com/2021/10/01/historic-increase-food-stamp-benefits-starts-october/

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden’s administration has approved a significant and permanent increase in the levels of food aid available to needy families — the largest single increase in the program’s history.

Starting in October, average benefits for food stamps — officially known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP — will rise more than 25 percent above pre-pandemic levels. The increased assistance will be available indefinitely to all 42 million SNAP beneficiaries.

The increase coincides with the end of a 15 percent boost in SNAP benefits that was ordered as a pandemic protection measure. That benefit expires 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 with 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. In practical terms, the average monthly per-person benefits for qualified recipients will rise from $121 to $157.

The increase is projected to cost an additional $20 billion per year, but it won’t have to be approved by Congress. A farm law passed in 2018 by the then-GOP led Congress and signed by former President Donald Trump already directed the department to reassess the Thrifty Food Plan.

“Whether you’re a Republican or a Democrat, I think there’s a shared understanding of the importance of this program,” Vilsack said in a conference call with reporters.

The increase is part of a multi-pronged Biden administration effort to strengthen the country’s social safety net. Poverty and food security activists maintain that longstanding inadequacies were laid bare by the COVID-19 pandemic, presenting an opportunity to make generational improvements that reach beyond the current public health crisis.

Activists say the previous levels of pre-pandemic SNAP assistance simply weren’t enough, forcing many households to choose cheaper, less nutritious options or simply go hungry as the funds ran low toward the end of the month.

Vilsack said the increased funding will allow families to “be able to make healthy choices” all month long.

The move was swiftly praised by food security and anti-poverty activists.

Joel Berg, CEO of Hunger Free America, called it “a huge victory in the fight against hunger and for the tens of millions of Americans facing food insecurity.”

The measure also drew praise from some Republicans.

“It will allow families to purchase nutritious foods, which is important to promote health and reduce diet-related chronic conditions,” said Ann Veneman, who served as agriculture secretary under former President George W. Bush, in a statement on behalf of the Bipartisan Policy Council.

The changes are not directly connected to the COVID-19 pandemic, but Vilsack said the crisis helped underscore the importance of the food assistance program.

“A lot of people who thought they’d never take part in the SNAP program found themselves in need,” he said. “The pandemic sort of shocked people out of the belief that this was a program for someone else.”

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Sours: https://www.wsfa.com/2021/08/16/usda-announces-significant-boost-food-stamp-benefits/
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The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced Monday a permanent increase in food stamp assistance, the first such change in 45 years and the largest in program history.

Starting on Oct. 1, food stamps, officially known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, will increase up to 25% above pre-pandemic levels. The increase will impact some 42 million SNAP beneficiaries.

The changes come after a reevaluation of the USDA’s Thrifty Food Plan, which represents the cost to purchase groceries for a family of four.

“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,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said in a statement. “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.”

The average beneficiary will see per-person monthly benefits increase from $121 to $157, or an additional $36. In all, the change will bring an additional $343 million in SNAP benefits to Alabama households, according to U.S. Food and Drug Administration figures.

As of June, some 368,642 Alabama households receive SNAP benefits.

The USDA said the change was driven by current food prices, what Americans eat, dietary guidance and nutrients in food items.

Sours: https://www.al.com/news/2021/08/food-stamp-benefits-increasing-by-25-how-much-more-will-people-receive.html
SNAP Benefits Increasing this Month - $1 Billion per Month of Food Stamps

Home & Family

tomatoes, okra on table

AUBURN UNIVERSITY, Ala.—Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits will be on the rise starting Oct. 1, according to a news release from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The USDA released a re-evaluation of the Thrifty Food Plan, used to calculate SNAP benefits, on Monday. In Alabama, the estimated increase in SNAP benefits will be around $343 for each SNAP-eligible household.

Sondra Parmer, program leader for nutrition programs with the Alabama Cooperative Extension System at Auburn University, said the increase will help Alabamians access more nutritious foods.

“Fifteen percent of Alabama residents are SNAP recipients, which is about 727,000 people,” Parmer said. “The revised plan will help many Alabama families facing food and financial barriers.”

The re-evaluation found the cost of a nutritious, practical and cost-effective diet is 21 percent higher than the current Thrifty Food Plan. As a result, the average SNAP benefit will increase by $36.24 per person per month — or $1.19 per day — at the beginning of the fiscal year 2022 on Oct. 1. This excludes additional funds available as part of pandemic relief.

Collectively, SNAP benefits throughout the country are expected to increase by about $19,731, according to the USDA.

As directed by Congress in the 2018 Farm Bill — and with the expressed support of President Joe Biden’s Jan. 22 Executive Order — USDA conducted a data-driven review of the Thrifty Food Plan. According to the USDA, the cost adjustment is the first time the plan’s purchasing power has changed since it was first introduced in 1975. This change is reflective of notable shifts in the food marketplace and consumer circumstances throughout the past 45 years.

“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,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “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.”

The re-evaluation was driven by four factors in the 2018 Farm Bill — current food prices, typical American diets, dietary guidance and the nutrient content of specific food items. The revised plan includes more fish and red and orange vegetables to align with recommendations in the American dietary guidelines.

Additionally, the plan calculations use up-to-date purchasing data to reflect the current price of foods in today’s marketplace. This data was collected from stores instead of self-reports by households. The revised plan also includes a modest increase in calories to reflect the latest data and support an active lifestyle.

Recent evidence consistently shows that benefit levels are too low to provide for a realistic, healthy diet. This is true even with households contributing their own funds toward groceries. A USDA study found that nearly nine out of 10 SNAP participants reported facing barriers to achieving a healthy diet. The most common barrier is the cost of healthy foods. These findings were echoed in listening sessions USDA held with a broad range of Thrifty Food Plan stakeholders.

“To set SNAP families up for success, we need a Thrifty Food Plan that supports current dietary guidance on a budget,” said Stacy Dean, deputy undersecretary for food, nutrition and consumer services. “Too many of our fellow Americans struggle to afford healthy meals. The revised plan is one step toward getting them the support they need to feed their families.”

Not only do SNAP benefits help local families, they are also beneficial to local economies. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities touts SNAP as one of the most effective forms of economic stimulus during a downturn. This is because most households redeem monthly SNAP benefits quickly and because the program helps struggling households purchase adequate food.

A recent USDA study estimates each dollar in new SNAP benefits spent when the economy is weak and unemployment is high would increase the gross domestic product by $1.54.

In good times and tough times, SNAP is one of the most far-reaching, powerful tools available to ensure that all Americans can afford healthy food. The program helps to feed more than 42 million Americans — one in eight — each month. Evidence is clear that SNAP increases food security, including households with children disproportionately impacted by hunger during COVID.

Read the full press release from the USDA concerning the Thrifty Food Plan.

To learn more about SNAP benefits and the USDA, visit www.usda.gov. For more information about Auburn SNAP-Ed, visit www.livewellalabama.com or check them out on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.

 

 

Sours: https://www.aces.edu/blog/topics/home-family/usda-updates-thrifty-food-plan-alabama-snap-ed-eligible-participants-could-see-343-increase/

Increase alabama snap

Alabama food stamp benefits to increase again because of COVID-19 pandemic

A second round of pandemic EBT funds will be disbursed to eligible families starting in late spring or early summer, the Alabama Department of Resources announced. 

Families already participating in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) with children under six years old who are not in school and all families with children in grades pre-K -12 that lost access to free or reduced price meals from the National School Lunch Program while schools were closed or holding classes virtually are eligible. 

Families will receive $6.82 per school day for each eligible child. Benefits for children attending schools will be calculated for August 2020 through May 2021 and for those who are under six and not attending school, it will be calculated for October 2020 through May 2021. 

“This program helped put food on the table for almost half a million Alabama children in 2020, at a time when many children faced a growing risk of hunger," Alabama DHR Commissioner Nancy Buckner said. "We are grateful to the USDA Food and Nutrition Service for providing us with additional resources to build upon last year’s overwhelming success. Together with our partners at USDA-FNS and the Department of Education, we remain committed to ensuring that no child goes hungry as a result of this pandemic.”

Families will receive EBT cards in the mail and the benefits are available for 365 days from the issue date. Children can still access meals from their school district.

For families who experienced a decrease in income, you can apply for the benefits at your child's school.

Contact Montgomery Advertiser reporter Krista Johnson at [email protected]

Sours: https://www.montgomeryadvertiser.com/story/news/2021/04/15/alabama-food-stamp-benefits-to-increase-again-because-of-covid-19-pandemic/7226887002/
Changes To Alabama Food Stamps

This story was reprinted with permission from The Birmingham Times.

Families who receive food stamps will see the largest benefits increase in history beginning Oct. 1 following the Biden administration’s approved updates to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

The U.S. Department of Agriculture last week released a reevaluation of the Thrifty Food Plan, which is used to calculate SNAP benefits, based on changes to nutritional guidance, food prices and what Americans eat.

Its new calculations mean that the average SNAP benefit will increase by $36.24 per person, per month, beginning Oct. 1. The impact will be felt by many, as the Agriculture Department says the program helps feed more than 42 million Americans (or 1 in 8) each month.

The revision will bring $343 million more into Alabama through SNAP benefits, according to the USDA. The change was welcomed by food advocates in the Birmingham metro area.

“The increase is going to help thousands of folks in Alabama who have been hit hardest by the pandemic,” said Laura Lester, Executive Director for the Alabama Food Bank Association (AFBA), “. . . it’s going to help relieve the incredible strain that’s been put on our network of partner agencies, as they try to keep up and help feed hungry people in their communities.”

Lester added that the reevaluation of SNAP also brings the program up to date.

“For the first time in 45 years, USDA has increased the SNAP benefit to more accurately reflect current costs and the realities of folks,” she said.

SNAP and school meals programs are two of the most important ways to address food insecurity and “anything policymakers can do to strengthen these and expand those programs, particularly SNAP, [they should], Lester said.

Brett Meredith, executive director of the Community Food Bank of Central Alabama (CFBCA), which is a local chapter of the Alabama Food Bank Association, said the increase “is a big deal because a lot of families…have to decide between rent, or utilities, or food or a lot of other things . . . And, this just helps with food quite a bit.”

While this increase in SNAP benefits is good, Meredith said in terms of fixing the area’s food insecurity, “It will help. It’ll lighten the load, maybe a little bit.”

Still there is more to be done.

About 20 percent of people who “struggle to make ends meet” in the CFBCA’s area are not eligible for benefits, said Meredith and those people could make use of the 255 partner agencies of CFBCA, such as local churches.

“We’re sending billions of pounds of food out every month to our agency network, and they’re serving on an individual basis,” he said. “There’s a lot of folks needing help and haven’t ever had to come for help before.”

Carol Gundlach, a policy analyst for Alabama Arise, a statewide nonprofit which pushes for public policy to improve the lives of people who are in poverty, said SNAP, next to the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), “the single biggest program that lifts people and children out of poverty.”

The SNAP program provides benefits for more than just the families who are helped, she said.

In May of this year, about 750,000 individuals received SNAP benefits, which amounts to about 15 percent of the state’s population which makes it “an economic driver in our communities,” Gundlach said.

“For those of us who aren’t on SNAP, but who like to eat, we need to be grateful to SNAP for keeping grocery stores that we depend on in business,” she said. “Particularly in some of our lower income communities, there would not be grocery stores if it were not for SNAP. It’s a source of employment for people who work in the industry, and it makes a really big difference to the entire state and to all of our communities.”

Sours: https://www.al.com/news/2021/08/what-historic-increase-in-food-stamp-benefits-means-for-alabama-families.html

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