Food stamps just increased by a record 30% – here’s what it means for families – The Madison Leader Gazette
About 1 in 8 American families can now load their grocery carts with more food to feed the household.
The largest increase on record in the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) – commonly known as “food stamps” – comes into effect on October 1.
Households that juggle multiple bills, repay debts and struggle to meet their shelter costs will be in a better position to purchase the key ingredients of healthy eating.
About 42 million people, representing 12% of American families, rely on SNAP benefits to get food on the table. With the new boost from the Biden administration, they will see their monthly amounts increase by around 30% on average. Here’s more, including how that translates to dollars and cents.
SNAP’s increase was long in coming
The SNAP increase was sparked by a farm bill passed by Congress in 2018 that called for updating the program to reflect current food prices, typical American eating habits, the latest dietary recommendations and values. nutritional.
“Too many of our fellow Americans are struggling to afford healthy meals,” says Stacy Dean, the US Department of Agriculture’s Assistant Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services. “The revised plan is a step towards giving them the support they need to feed their families. “
SNAP households often used more than 75% of their benefits in the middle of each month, according to USDA data.
Food stamps were extended last year for the COVID pandemic, but it was a temporary measure to help families weather the worst of the crisis.
The new typical monthly benefit
Now, the permanent change to the program dramatically increases the benefits of their pre-pandemic levels and is designed to help users include more fish and red and orange vegetables in their diets.
On average, each recipient will now receive an additional $ 36.24 per month, or $ 1.19 per day, the USDA said in a press release. The typical monthly benefit drops from around $ 121 to $ 157.
Officials expect enhanced benefits, along with ‘family stimulus checks’ from this year’s expanded child tax credit, will mean fewer families will quickly deplete their benefits or be unable to afford necessities. .
The children’s credit payments are already working. The first checks in July coincided with a 3% drop in households with children experiencing food shortages, according to the Census Bureau.
What if you can’t get food stamps?
If you don’t qualify for SNAP but are struggling to make it through, here are a few ways to make more room for yourself in your budget.
Manage your debt. If you’ve been relying on credit cards during the pandemic, the costly interest must catch up with you now. Manage your balances by consolidating them into one debt consolidation loan, to lower the cost of your debt and pay it off faster.
Lower your insurance costs. If you haven’t looked for a better rate on your auto insurance lately, you could easily overpay hundreds of dollars a year. A little comparison will help you find a better rate. The same strategy also works well for getting a lower price for home insurance.
Make every penny count. When ordering online to stock up on essentials, use a free browser extension that will automatically scan the Internet for better prices and coupons.
Turn your money into a wallet. Don’t assume the investment is too expensive or intimidating. A popular app will allow you to earn returns in today’s scorching stock market simply by investing your “coin” from your daily purchases.
This article provides information only and should not be construed as advice. It is provided without warranty of any kind.