Last month the Biden Administration increased the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) payments by 27% over pre-pandemic levels. This increase was in response to the upcoming expiration of a 15% increase in SNAP (formerly called the “food stamp program”) benefits that was made by Congress last year in response to COVID.
That prior plus-up was due to expire on September 30th, the end of the current fiscal year. This new, more generous increase occurred through USDA’s updating of the “Thrifty Food Plan” that calculates what it costs to buy various SNAP eligible items. The update does not change eligibility for any commodity, only the amount the federal government will pay.
In response, both House and Senate Ag Committee Ranking Members GT Thompson (R-PA) and John Boozman (R-AR) questioned the mechanism under which the changes were made. Their concerns center around how the adjustments may impact the federal budget process and the upcoming Farm Bill debate.