SNAP Benefits to Increase Beginning October 1
September 10, 2021--The average Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefit will increase beginning October 1 by a monthly average of $36.24 per person.
The increase comes as pandemic relief funds, which temporarily expanded SNAP’s maximum benefits by 15%, are set to expire on September 30. The new increase covers the expiring relief funds and further increases the maximum benefits. As a result, households will experience an actual average increase of around $8 per person.
The increase comes after the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) released a re-evaluation of the a re-evaluation of the Thrifty Food Plan, used to calculate SNAP benefits. USDA conducted the data-driven process to modernize the Thrifty Food Plan based on current food prices, consumption data, the nutrients in food and the latest dietary guidance. The findings acknowledges notable shifts in the food marketplace and consumers’ circumstances over the past 45 years, reflecting the price of practical, cost conscious, and nutritious diet in current marketplace and consumers’ circumstances.
The 2021 Thrifty Food Plan puts healthy food in reach for SNAP families. Recent evidence consistently shows that benefit levels are too low to provide for a realistic, healthy diet, even with households contributing their own funds toward groceries. A USDA study published earlier this summer found that nearly nine out of 10 SNAP participants reported facing barriers to achieving a healthy diet, with the most common barrier being the cost of healthy foods. These findings were echoed in listening sessions USDA held with a broad range of Thrifty Food Plan stakeholders.
The reevaluation concluded that the cost of a nutritious, practical, cost effective diet is 21% higher than the current Thrifty Food Plan. The cost adjustment is the first time the purchasing power of the plan has changed since it was first introduced in 1975.
Learn more and access additional resources related to the Thrifty Food Plan and SNAP.
For information about eligibility and to apply for SNAP benefits online, visit Common Help or walk-in at 2525 Mt. Vernon Ave. to request an application or call 703.746.5902 to have an application mailed. Applications are also available through the Virginia Department of Social Services Call Center at 1.855.635.4370.