How SNAP Boost will help fight hunger in New Jersey
NEW JERSEY – Residents of New Jersey struggling with food insecurity could benefit from much-needed relief after the Biden administration approved the largest increase in food aid benefits in SNAP’s history.
From October, the average benefits of food stamps – officially known as the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program, or SNAP – will increase, benefiting more than 42 million SNAP beneficiaries.
The increase will replace a similar one ordered as a protective measure against the pandemic, the Associated Press reported. This benefit expires at the end of September.
The coronavirus pandemic has had a profound impact on food insecurity in the United States, according to Feeding America, the nation’s largest food bank and pantry network. The non-profit organization estimates that by 2021, more than 42 million Americans – including 13 million children – will not have enough nutritious food to eat due to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
While an increase in SNAP benefits won’t solve the problem, it’s a big step in the right direction, according to Feeding America.
“SNAP is the United States’ first line of defense against hunger,” the organization said in a statement. “At Feeding America, we believe that the continuous improvement of SNAP is essential to ensure the food security of our country.
Wondering how the increase will work and who will it affect? This is what we know:
How many people could this affect in New Jersey?
The coronavirus pandemic has dramatically increased food insecurity and hunger as many people lost their jobs during lockdowns related to the pandemic.
Before the pandemic, a range of five to nine percent of families in all New Jersey counties were food insecure, according to Feeding America.
But in 2020, food insecurity affected up to 18 percent of families in places like Atlantic County, 16 percent in Cape May and Hudson counties, and 15 percent in County. Essex.
Who can forget the story of an elementary-age girl on the Jersey Shore who started crying in her Zoom class last winter, telling her teacher and the whole class that she couldn’t stand? concentrate because she was so hungry and there was not enough food at home? Before the pandemic, she had free hot breakfast and lunch at school, but last year her school district was completely virtual, all year round. Monmouth Co. Girl, 9, Confesses to Virtual Classroom She’s Hungry
The girl’s mother lost multiple jobs when all restaurants closed in March and she had not been able to work since. The family was also not eligible for SNAP or unemployment benefits.
How significant is the increase in SNAP by the Biden administration?
Food aid benefits will increase on average 25 percent above pre-pandemic levels, according to several reports. This means that the average monthly benefits, which were $ 121 per person before the pandemic, will increase by $ 36 under the new rules.
The increase is included in a review of the United States Department of Agriculture’s Thrifty Food plan, which estimates the cost of buying groceries for a family of four and guides how the government calculates benefits.
The increase will likely cost the federal government an additional $ 20 billion per year. The change does not require congressional approval, the AP reported.
Who is entitled to increased benefits?
The increased aid is available for the 42 million SNAP beneficiaries.
Some experts also argue that the increase could also persuade people who have not yet enrolled in the program to do so, as the higher benefits could make them less hesitant to deal with paperwork and more willing to deal with the the stigma associated with SNAP services.
When was the last program update?
This increase marks the first benefit adjustment to the United States Department of Agriculture’s Thrifty Food Plan, first introduced in 1975.
The 2018 Farm Bill mandated a re-examination of the mathematics of the program, the Washington Post reported. In a January executive order, the Biden administration asked the USDA to revise the plan to better reflect the modern cost of a healthy staple diet.
After reviewing the plan, the USDA decided to increase the benefits after analyzing the available data on four key factors: current food prices, what Americans typically eat, dietary advice, and nutrients in foods. .
Some have argued that current benefits often force beneficiaries to choose less expensive and less nutritious foods or simply go hungry as funds run out towards the end of the month. An increase in monthly benefits could help SNAP recipients make healthier choices at the grocery store, according to the USDA.
Is the increase permanent?
The increase is permanent.
Feeding America serves 200 member food banks that serve and deliver 60,000 pantries, kitchens and meal programs across the country.
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Patch has partnered with Feeding America to help educate the millions of Americans facing hunger. Feeding America, which supports 200 food banks across the country, estimates that by 2021 more than 42 million Americans will not have enough nutritious food to eat due to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. This is a Patch Social Good Project; Feeding America receives 100 percent of donations. * Find out how you can donate in your community or find a pantry near you.