The US Department of Agriculture announced on Monday an increase to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits due to a review of the Thifty Food Plan, mandated by a bipartisan farm bill that was passed in 2018. Monthly benefits in Texas will rise approximately 27% starting in October.
“It is a big day, especially for those 42 million Americans who rely on SNAP for supplemental assistance to feed themselves and their families,” said Tom Vilsack, United States Secretary of Agriculture.
The Thrifty Food Plan, a baseline diet used to calculate benefit levels, had not been updated since 1975 and so failed to capture shifts in food costs and consumers’ circumstances. The update is also expected to increase the amount of USDA commodities available to food banks.
“This is long overdue and sorely needed relief for families who are stretching to put enough food on the table;” said Celia Cole, CEO of Feeding Texas. “Everyone knows the cost of living is very different than it was in 1975. These adjustments, which are based on years of scientific research, will have an important impact for the families we serve.”
The increase will amount to an additional 1.5 billion in benefits to SNAP-enrolled families in Texas. That is an average monthly increase of $36 per person, equivalent to $1.20 per day or 40 cents per meal.
“Our food banks have been struggling to meet increased food needs in their communities,” said Cole. “We know SNAP can reach many more people and offer food assistance on a much larger scale than we can. This change will re-balance the program in favor of healthier diets and reduced hunger in Texas.”
For more about the update to SNAP benefits, click here.
The East Texas Food Bank has a Benefits Assistance Program that helps East Texans complete applications for social service benefits, such as SNAP. To learn more about the program and request in-person or virtual assistance, click here.