Food stamps or the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program has received one of the biggest increases in history this week. The increase means hundreds in added benefits for families across the U.S. The increase resulted in a 25% boost to most who were receiving food stamps.
It also goes down as the single largest increase to SNAP in history. The goal is to knock out food insecurity for families who were struggling throughout the pandemic. There are a total of 42 million people currently enrolled in SNAP. The Biden Administration says that the largest driver of the program is the desire to keep families – particularly children – fed.
“It’s the kids that we need to support. We need to feed their brains so they can grow up and be healthy, productive citizens,” Cynthia Hernandez told KSBY. Not everyone agrees with that position, though. As was evidenced by Richard Cole, who also spoke with KSBY.
“Everyone that gets that money should be looked at, talked to, and find out if they really need it or if it’s just a freebie,” he told the station there when asked about his opposition to the food stamps expansion.
How much will SNAP benefits increase?
The SNAP benefits increase will mean around $90 more per month for individuals. A family of four will see around $200 more per month. However, exact benefits will range based on a variety of factors. Experts have said a family receiving $600 per month in SNAP benefits will receive around $800 moving forward.
What else is changing with SNAP?
Led by Governor Kathy Hochul, New York State is taking steps to allow SNAP recipients to use benefits at restaurants. She signed legislation authorizing a program that would allow homeless, elderly, and disabled SNAP recipients to use their benefits for prepared or hot food from participating restaurants.
The state will have to apply for USDA approval to make the program official.
“It’s unconscionable that in a state as prosperous as New York, many residents still struggle to get enough food to feed their families,” Governor Hochul said. “The vital actions we’re taking—establishing two restaurant programs to help the most vulnerable New Yorkers feed themselves and help restaurants recover from this terrible pandemic.”
Lieutenant Governor Brian Benjamin said it would help businesses and families in need. “The actions Governor Hochul are taking today make it clear to families and restaurants recovering from COVID that New York State is here for them. Expanding SNAP benefit eligibility to prepared or hot foods at participating restaurants will help feed New York families in need while providing a needed boost to struggling local businesses,” he said.
Once approved by the USDA recipients of SNAP will be able to obtain prepared or hot food from participating restaurants at reduced prices. Prior to this legislation, regulations prevented many populations that do not have access to cooking or food preparation on their own from using SNAP benefits.
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