To enhance food access, the USDA is exploring SNAP benefit changes in Hawaii, where food prices are higher than in any other state. Under the program, formerly food stamps, low-income households receive monthly help depending on income and size.
Hawaii’s Rising Food Costs Trigger SNAP Concerns
Food prices in Hawaii are worrying, prompting the prospective benefit rise. Hawaii U.S. Senator Brian Schatz announced that the USDA will collect food cost data until March 4. Assess how SNAP benefits can better serve local areas.
In October 2023, Hawaii had the highest food prices of all 50 states. Using Move.org data, Newsweek reported that Honolulu residents spend $638.57 on groceries monthly, $200 higher than the national average of $415.53.
USDA Eyes Rule Changes to Address Soaring Grocery Costs
In line with the cost of living, the USDA annually increases SNAP maximum allotments, deductions, and income eligibility. Only Hawaii had a lower allotment in 2024. Hawaii families receive a maximum SNAP allocation of $1,759.
After gathering data, the USDA may propose and enact a new rule that accounts for Hawaii residents’ higher grocery costs. This might make food cheaper for the almost 200,000 state residents who use SNAP.
The proposed improvements recognize Hawaii’s particular economic problems and ensure that SNAP benefits match the true cost of living and support people who rely on the program for food assistance.