[BATON ROUGE]; This week the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced a significant update to the Thrifty Food Plan, which is used to calculate Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits. This is the first major update to the plan in over 45 years, which better reflects the economic realities that most struggling households face when trying to purchase and prepare healthy foods.
This long-overdue update comes as significant news for families across our country and particularly for Louisiana, where nearly 1-in-5 families depend on SNAP to put food on the table. Approximately 848,529 Louisianans will now be better able to purchase healthier food options such as fresh fruits and vegetables, which are typically more expensive than the less nutritious foods purchased as funds run low each month.
USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack said this update ensures “low-income families have access to a healthy diet helps prevent disease, supports children in the classroom, reduces health care costs, and more. And the additional money families will spend on groceries helps grow the food economy, creating thousands of new jobs along the way.”
“SNAP is the nation’s cornerstone anti-hunger program, and this increase in benefits for individuals and families struggling to put food on the table comes at a critical time in the fight against hunger. The effects of this change will be significant for hundreds of thousands of Louisiana citizens - greater access to a nutritious diet is the first step towards positive educational and health outcomes,” said Feeding Louisiana Executive Director Korey Patty.
By many estimates, roughly half of households receiving SNAP benefits are still food insecure. For those households, SNAP benefits are not enough to afford food, particularly of the healthy variety, even when combined with household income.
Beginning October 1, SNAP recipients will see their benefits increase by more than 21 percent from pre-pandemic levels; that is the equivalent of roughly $36.24 per person monthly, or $1.19 per person daily. In Louisiana, this means the maximum monthly SNAP benefit allotment will increase from $680 to $835 for a family of four, and from $535 to $658 for a family of three.
Feeding Louisiana applauds the Biden Administration for championing this permanent increase in the amount of SNAP benefits available for lower-income families, which will no doubt help to reduce hunger and food insecurity faced by thousands of vulnerable children and families across our state.