Gem State Roundup

USDA announces food assistance benefits in Idaho will increase permanently Oct. 1

By: - August 17, 2021 9:13 am
Food stamps sign hangs in a business

The average SNAP benefit – excluding additional funds provided as part of pandemic relief – will increase by $36.24 per person per month, or $1.19 per day, for Fiscal Year 2022. The change will result in an increase of $68 million for Idaho’s program, from $248 million to $316 million, according to the Department of Agriculture. (Photo by Scott Heins/Getty Images)

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced in a press release it would recalculate the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits, meaning benefits will increase for households starting Oct. 1.

The average SNAP benefit – excluding additional funds provided as part of pandemic relief – will increase by $36.24 per person per month, or $1.19 per day, for Fiscal Year 2022. The change will result in an increase of $68 million for Idaho’s program, from $248 million to $316 million, according to the Department of Agriculture.

The change is the result of a data-driven review of the Thrifty Food Plan, as directed by the U.S. Congress in the 2018 Farm Bill and an executive order from President Joe Biden. The cost adjustment is the first time the purchasing power of the plan has changed since it was introduced in 1975, the release said, and the food marketplace and consumer circumstances have changed significantly since then. The reevaluation concluded that the cost of a nutritious, practical, cost-effective diet is 21% higher than the current Thrifty Food Plan.

“A modernized Thrifty Food Plan is more than a commitment to good nutrition – it’s an investment in our nation’s health, economy, and security,” Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said in the release. “Ensuring low-income families have access to a healthy diet helps prevent disease, supports children in the classroom, reduces health care costs, and more.”

According to the release, the reevaluation is driven by the latest available data on the four key factors identified in the 2018 Farm Bill: current food prices, what Americans typically eat, dietary guidance, and the nutrients in food items. For example, the revised plan includes more fish and red and orange vegetables to align with national dietary guidelines.

“To set SNAP families up for success, we need a Thrifty Food Plan that supports current dietary guidance on a budget,” said Stacy Dean, deputy undersecretary for food, nutrition, and consumer services, in the release. “Too many of our fellow Americans struggle to afford healthy meals. The revised plan is one step toward getting them the support they need to feed their families.”

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Kelcie Moseley-Morris
Kelcie Moseley-Morris

Kelcie Moseley-Morris is an award-winning journalist who has covered many topics across Idaho since 2011. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Idaho and a master’s degree in public administration from Boise State University. Moseley-Morris started her journalism career at the Moscow-Pullman Daily News, followed by the Lewiston Tribune and the Idaho Press.

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