Biden Administration Approves Largest Food Stamp Increase in History of SNAP Program
The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has confirmed reports of the White House approving a permanent 30 percent increase in food stamp assistance.
The New York Times first reported the story on Sunday, claiming that the increase is the largest in the history of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
“[It’s] a move that will give poor people more power to fill their grocery carts but add billions of dollars to the cost of a program that feeds one in eight Americans,” according to the report.
A USDA spokeswoman confirmed the Biden administration’s approval of the increase to the Associated Press on Monday. All 42 million SNAP participants will receive the increased assistance permanently. Average monthly benefits will rise from $121 to $157 per person starting in October, which amounts to an additional $1.5 billion spent on the program each month. The entire cost of the program each year will thus rise from $61 billion to $79 billion.
“Opponents of a benefit increase say the program is meant to supply only part, not all, of a household’s diet, as suggested by its formal name,” the Times reports. “They also say the aid would last longer if the needy spent it better, citing research showing nearly 10 percent goes to sweetened drinks.”
That research comes directly from the USDA, which claims that 20 percent of households on SNAP spent 20 percent of their benefits on “sweetened drinks, desserts, salty snacks, candy, and sugar.”