Pandemic triggers 89% increase in US food stamp spending

(The Center Square) – Spending on food stamps increased by $53.5 billion — an 89% increase — over the two years of the pandemic. In comparison, that’s how much the whole program cost in 2009 during the Great Recession.

U.S. Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program spending increased 88.5% from $60.3 billion in 2019 to $113.8 billion in 2021. SNAP program spending previously peaked at 79 .8 billion in 2013 before declining over the following six years.

The average monthly benefit per person increased by 68%, from $129.83 per person to $217.88 per person, from 2019 to 2021, according to The figures of the Food and Nutrition Service of the United States Department of Agriculture.

The federal program helps supplement the food budget of eligible individuals. SNAP provides benefits to eligible low-income people through an electronic benefit transfer card that can be used in stores to purchase food.

Emergency orders help some states collect more federal aid. For example, by implementing a COVID-19 state of emergency, “Connecticut received and distributed an additional $748 million in emergency SNAP benefits,” Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont said in a statement from the June 28. Executive Decree. “The continued receipt of these funds is essential to offset the effects of food insecurity in Connecticut during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

About 35.7 million people nationwide used SNAP benefits in 2019, the lowest number since 2013. Participation in the program increased to 39.9 million in 2020 before climbing to 41.6 million in 2021, according to the USDA. documents.

More people are expected to participate in SNAP in the coming years.

By 2023, the USDA estimates that attendance will grow to an average of 43.5 million attendees per month, up from 42.3 million in 2022.

“This post-recession rise in SNAP is consistent with participation trends after the past economic crisis,” USDA officials noted in the agency’s 2023 report. budget. “While participation should increase, the overall cost of the program should decrease.”

The lower costs are expected to come from the expiry of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act and the expiry of a 15% increase in benefits from the Consolidated Appropriations Act 2021 and the American Rescue Plan at the end of fiscal year 2021, according to budget.

Emergency authorization payments that have been provided through the Families-First Coronavirus Response Act and other program waivers are expected to continue for the duration of the public health emergency, probably until the majority of 2022, depending on the budget.