Biden administration makes record increase to food stamp benefits

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Agriculture

The average monthly benefits for SNAP will be roughly 27 percent higher than they were before the pandemic, starting Oct. 1.

The Biden administration is increasing the benefits by updating the Thrifty Food Plan, the Agriculture Department’s calculation for what it costs to buy a nutritious diet with minimal resources. | Joe Raedle/Getty Images

By HELENA BOTTEMILLER EVICH

08/15/2021 05:05 PM EDT

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The Biden administration on Monday plans to unveil a major permanent increase to the food stamp benefits that help 42 million Americans buy groceries — a record bump up for one of the country’s largest safety net programs.

The average monthly benefits for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program will be roughly 27 percent higher than they were before the pandemic, starting Oct. 1, according to an administration official. That comes out to an increase of about 40 cents per meal.

The change comes right as millions of households were set to face a benefits cliff, as the current 15 percent pandemic plus-up that Congress authorized at the end of last year is set to expire Sept. 30.

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