Especially in light of rising food prices, this is an excellent move that will help so many people struggling to feed families during a pandemic.
The Biden administration has put in place the largest permanent increase to food stamp benefits in the program’s history, to take effect in October. Via the New York Times:
Under rules to be announced on Monday and put in place in October, average benefits will rise more than 25 percent from prepandemic levels. All 42 million people in the program will receive additional aid. The move does not require congressional approval, and unlike the large pandemic-era expansions, which are starting to expire, the changes are intended to last.
For at least a decade, critics of the benefits have said they were too low to provide an adequate diet. More than three-quarters of households exhaust their benefits in the first half of the monthly cycle, and researchers have linked subsequent food shortages to problems as diverse as increased hospital admissions, more school suspensions and lower SAT scores.
Under the new rules, average monthly benefits, $121 per person before the pandemic, will rise by $36. Although the increase may seem modest to middle-class families, proponents say it will reduce hunger, improve nutrition and lead to better health.
Agriculture SecretaryTom Vilsack said in the middle of disease, hardship and racial disparities, the $79 billion annual cost of the program helps “stabilize our democracy.”