Biden administration approves largest food stamp increase in program's history
According to the New York Times, the food stamp aid will be raised more than 25% raise over pre-pandemic levels, bringing the average benefits per person per month from $121 to $157.
The increase will impact 42 million people currently in program, also known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). About 43% of that number are children.
At current aid levels, more than 75% of families use up their SNAP benefits within the first half of the month, leaving them vulnerable in the later half.
Chronic food shortages have been linked with increased hospitalizations, more school suspensions, and lower SAT scores.
Critics also saw the low levels of aid made it difficult for individuals and families to afford balanced and nutritious diets, which can have devastating effects on physical and mental health.
"We may have a Constitution and a Declaration of Independence, but if we had 42 million Americans who were going hungry, really hungry, they wouldn’t be happy and there would be political instability," Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said.
Vilsack is expected to formally announce the SNAP benefit increase on Monday.
Cover photo: IMAGO / ZUMA Wire