After a major update to the food stamp system, known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), recipients will see a massive increase in food stamp handouts in the month of October, according to CNN.
Benefits will rise by approximately 27 percent compared to pre-pandemic levels, the largest such increase in the program’s history. Even after the special extension and increase that was implemented specifically due to the COVID-19 pandemic has expired, the regular handouts will go up due to a revision of the Thrifty Food Plan.
As a result of the Farm Bill passed in 2018, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), which oversees SNAP, ordered the increase in handouts after a broad review of the program. The bill, passed by a Republican-led Congress, revised the USDA’s guidelines for reviewing and readjusting the parameters of the program, allowing for the agency to conduct such reviews every five years; the first such review was set to be conducted before Fiscal Year 2022.
On average, beneficiaries of SNAP will see an increase of $36 in their average monthly benefits. Before the pandemic, each person received roughly $121 per month; now, with inflation and costs of living taken into account, each recipient will see around $169 per month.
In addition to the handouts from SNAP alone, recipients in certain states where additional unemployment benefits put in place as a result of the pandemic are still continuing could see as much as $251 per month. This comes even after the temporary 15 percent increase in food stamps expired on September 30th. There are currently over 42.3 million people enrolled in SNAP as of June of this year, compared to about 37 million in February of 2020.