Starting in October, average benefits for food stamps — officially known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP — will rise more than 25% above pre-pandemic levels. The increased assistance will be available indefinitely to all 42 million SNAP beneficiaries.
According to The Associated Press, the average monthly benefit per person is $121 which will jump to $157 monthly as part of the Biden administration’s plan to strengthen the safety net.
The coming increase coincides with the end of a 15% boost in SNAP benefits, ordered as a pandemic protection measure, that expires at the end of September.
Dept. of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said the SNAP increase means the federal government "will do a better job of providing healthy food for low-income families."
Responding to the announcement, Scott Centorino of the Foundation for Government Accountability predicts the increase in SNAP benefits will only worsen the nation's worker shortage, which he says is evident to anyone who steps outside their home and sees “help wanted” signs everywhere.
"That's thanks in large part to federal unemployment policy,” he advises, “and the suspension of work requirements across welfare programs, particularly food stamps.”
According to Forbes, in a story published last week, the U.S. currently has a record-breaking number of job openings, approximately 10 million, as the country recovers from the virus pandemic.
Yet millions of Americans are still sitting at home enjoying generous federal and state unemployment benefits that, in some cases, add up to more than a full-time job. Those unemployment numbers were expected to decrease after some state governors, such as Mississippi’s governor Tate Reeves, pulled their state's pandemic-related participation earlier this summer.
Centorino says he personally knows that a restaurant near his home in Virginia shut its doors not for lack of sales but a lack of workers.
"They had three workers doing the work of 12 people,” he tells American Family News, “and those workers could not keep up.”
Back in Mississippi, famous as the poorest state in the country, a family of five with a household income of approximately $39,200 is currently eligible for $768 in monthly SNAP benefits, according to the website HelpingAmericansFindHelp.org. The coming increase will push that SNAP benefit to more than $950 monthly.