In October, changes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), basically known as food stamps, will take effect, removing one of the boosts granted by emergency pandemic money and introducing an overall increase in the program’s base rate.
The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021’s 15 % increase in pre-pandemic benefits expires on September 30, and revisions to the Thrifty Food Plan, which is the basis of the US Department of Agriculture’s formula in determining food stamp payments, comes into effect in October, per IndyStar.
According to the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration, this will slightly increase the overall monthly benefit for many SNAP recipients in Indiana. However, with so many changes occurring at once, things may become perplexing.
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), also known as food stamps, is a federal nutrition assistance program run by the United States Department of Agriculture. The Department of Family Resources of the Family and Social Services Administration oversees it in Indiana. The program’s purpose is to increase low-income families’ access to nutritious food.
624,959 Hoosiers got approximately $144 million in SNAP benefits in July, the most recent month for which data is available from the FSSA. On the one hand, the 15% hike is part of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, which expires on September 30.
New SNAP Does Not Increase on the Top of the Current Emergency Rates; Here’s Why
The increase is to the base rate; therefore, before the 15 percent increase allowed by the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, maximum benefits would have been higher. The USDA’s Thrifty Food Plan determines these essential rates.
USDA’s Thrifty Food Plan
The USDA proposes four budgets for healthy diets based on dietary standards, intake recommendations, and the consumer price index. The Thrifty Food Plan is the most affordable option. Despite being adjusted for inflation and an annual cost-of-food audit, the Thrifty Food Plan’s purchasing power hasn’t improved since it was initially implemented in the mid-1970s.
The new plan contains a budget increase of 21%, resulting in a $36.24 increase in average monthly payments for people enrolled in the program. According to the USDA, Indiana could receive up to $298 million in new benefits in the coming fiscal year.
When the revisions were revealed in August, Indiana hunger-relief advocates told IndyStar that the modifications would result in an average cost of 40 cents per person, each meal.
The New SNAP Monthly Maximum
The modified food plan has resulted in new SNAP monthly maximums. The following are the new maximum monthly allotments by household size, which go into effect on Oct. 1; 1: $250; 2: $459; 3: $658; 4: $835; 5: $992; 6: $1,190; 7: $1,316; 8: $1,504 and add $188 for each additional person.
All Hoosier Households are Receiving Maximum SNAP Benefits
Emergency allotments have ensured that all Hoosiers, regardless of income, have received the maximum benefit for their household size since last spring. However, this isn’t a long-term rise. It will terminate 30 days after Gov. Eric Holcomb’s emergency proclamation is lifted or the national public health emergency is lifted, whichever comes first.
When that happens, the USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service anticipates that Americans in states receiving emergency allotments, such as Indiana, will face a monthly loss of $95 or more. Thus, the rise in the base rate takes effect in October, so you’ll notice a change when you get your monthly benefit, which is paid on a rotating basis based on your last initial.
Contact your local Department of Family Resources if you have any additional questions or concerns about your situation. Find contact information for the nearest office at in.gov/fssa/dfr/ebt-hoosier-works-card/find-my-local-dfr-office. You may also visit in.gov/fssa/dfr/snap-food-assistance/about-snap to learn more about SNAP in Indiana and to determine whether you match the qualifying requirements.