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April 13, 2023
The Biden administration has approved an increase in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits for more than 40 million Americans. This is the largest boost in the program’s history.
This permanent increase will rise more than 25 percent above pre-pandemic levels starting in October. The increase was formally announced by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. This boost is part of a major revision of the USDA’s Thrifty Food Plan and, on average, the monthly per-person benefit will rise from $121 to $157. The increase is based on an update to the algorithm that governs the Thrifty Food Plan, which tracks the cost of 58 different categories of groceries needed to provide a budget-conscious diet for a family of four.
“Plain and simple, this is totally a game-changing moment,” said Jamie Bussel a senior program officer at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, a philanthropy focused on health. “The changes have enormous potential to reduce, and potentially eliminate, child hunger and poverty in this country. This will reflect much more accurately what food actually costs in communities.”
Anti-hunger experts have long argued the Thrifty Food Plan’s metrics are out of date with the economic realities most struggling households face. They say the plan, formulated in the 1960s, was designed when many American families still had only one working parent, allowing the other parent more time for labor-intensive, but cheap, cooking from scratch.
ARTICLE: PAUL MURDOCH
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: SUN SENTINEL