Biden administration approves record permanent jump in food stamps

Millions of Americans will see their food stamp benefits permanently increase by a record amount later this year, The New York Times reported.

The Biden administration is expected to announce the new rules Monday, and they will take effect in October, according to the Times.

Average monthly benefits are slated to increase by $36 from a pre-pandemic average of $121, or about 25 percent. 

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The change does not require approval from Congress and will apply to all of the more than 40 million people who receive these benefits, officially called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

The change is based on updates the Department of Agriculture made to the Thrifty Food Plan, which outlines nutritional goals for Americans. The framework suggests how much money each family can spend on a number of food groups to achieve a healthy diet.

Congress in 2018 passed a law ordering a review of the plan, which the Biden administration asked the Department of Agriculture to accelerate upon taking office, the Times reported.

According to the Times, the weekly cost for this plan will jump from $159 to $193 for a family of four.

Three-quarters of families use their food stamps well within the first two weeks, according to the Times. The increase, though it may appear small, will help alleviate the financial burdens associated with eating healthy under a tight budget, experts say.

The newspaper noted that beyond being adjusted for inflation, the program’s value has not adjusted since its inception in 1962.

The Hill has reached out to the White House and Department of Agriculture for comment.