More than 42-million Americans are about to get a significant boost when it comes to putting food on the table -- a boost that will impact more than 700,000 families in Michigan.
Beginning October 1, 2021, the program once known as Food Stamps will be receiving the single largest increase in the program's 46-year history.
Nearly nine out of 10 people on Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits are reportedly facing barriers to achieving a healthy diet. The main hurdle, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, is the cost of buying healthier foods.
One in eight Americans receives food assistance, but the amount was based on decades-old data. That's about to change.
According to the USDA, beginning Oct. 1, the average person receiving monthly SNAP benefits will get an increase of $36.24, which is about a 21% increase. It will go from $121 a month to $157 per month.
Kristin Seefeldt, an associate professor at the University of Michigan School of Social Work said the change is long overdue. She has followed the struggles of many families facing food insecurity in metro Detroit.
“We’ve all heard about and probably felt in our own pocketbooks the increase in grocery prices," she said. "So, this will make a huge impact on families with lower incomes who are really feeling the brunt of this pandemic-induced inflation.”
The USDA announced in mid-August that it had re-evaluated the "Thrifty Food Plan" which is used to calculate SNAP benefits.
According to the department, the re-evaluation was driven by the latest data in four areas: Current food prices, what Americans typically eat, dietary guidance, and nutrients in food items.
Officials expect the SNAP benefits to show up on your bridge card some time after October 1.
"We have over 1.2-million people in Michigan on food assistance. We expect near all of those individuals to benefit from this change," said Lew Roubal, Chief Deputy Director for Opportunity with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.
Roubal said the state could potentially have to go back and supplement benefits for October depending on how long it takes to implement the changes, but people receiving SNAP don't need to do anything to get the extra benefits.
If you think you may be eligible for food assistance and don't currently receive it, you can apply at Michigan.gov/mibridges.