Food stamp benefits will get the biggest boost in the history of the program, rising 25% above pre-pandemic levels in October.
The average benefit will rise from $121 a month to $157, the USDA announced Aug. 17. The additional cost to the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) is estimated at $20 billion a year.
The Biden administration said that the move was motivated by the need to provide food stamp recipients with healthier diets. According to a recent government study, some 88% of SNAP recipients had trouble getting access to healthy foods.
“Ensuring low-income families have access to a healthy diet helps prevent disease, supports children in the classroom, reduces health-care costs and more,” U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said in a statement. “And the additional money families will spend on groceries helps grow the food economy, creating thousands of new jobs along the way.”
SNAP allowances had gone up by 15% during the pandemic, but that additional aid is due to expire in September.