USDA Announces Historic Increase in SNAP Benefits

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) this week unveiled its re-evaluation of the Thrifty Food Plan, the lowest cost food plan option offered to low-income Americans by the USDA. By way of background, the cost of the June Thrifty Food Plan serves as the basis for the maximum Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefit amount that becomes effective in the following federal fiscal year beginning on October 1.

The USDA conducted a data-driven review of the Thrifty Food Plan based on four key factors as specified in the 2018 Farm Bill passed by Congress: current food prices, typical foods consumed by Americans, dietary guidance, and nutrient values of foods. The reevaluation, the first conducted since the plan’s introduction in 1975, concluded that the cost of a nutritious, practical, and cost-effective diet is 21 percent higher than the current Thrifty Food Plan.

As a result of this adjustment, the average SNAP benefit, excluding additional pandemic-related funds, will increase by $36.24 per person, per month, or $1.19 per day, for Fiscal Year 2022 beginning on October 1, 2021. The adjustment is anticipated to assist the more than 42 million Americans who utilize the benefits each month.

Following the announcement, California Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly and California Department of Social Services Director Kim Johnson issued a statement applauding the Biden-Harris Administration for the adjustment and highlighted the impacts to Californians participating in CalFresh.

The full USDA announcement is available here. The Thrifty Food Plan re-evaluation report is available here.