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The Latest Pandemic Relief Measure Increases SNAP Benefits

Food Stamps
Robert F. Bukaty/AP
In this Friday, March 17, 2017, file photo, a sign advertises a program that allows food stamp recipients to use their EBT cards to shop at a farmer's market in Topsham, Maine.

As part of the latest COVID-19 relief package, Congress voted to increase benefits for everyone on SNAP, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

Starting this month, everyone on the program will get a 15% increase in their monthly benefits through June.

This is the second time since the pandemic began that Congress has voted to increase SNAP benefits. But the first time, the people who were most in need didn’t get an increase because they were already getting the maximum benefit. Those households will get more SNAP benefits now.

Adam Morgan at the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank estimated it’ll be an extra $30 a month per person.

“It can help a parent eat while they’re also trying to make sure their kids eat,” Morgan said.

The increase in SNAP benefits, plus an additional $300 a month in federal unemployment benefits, should help reduce food insecurity, said Stacy Dean at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

“Evidence from the Great Recession was that increasing SNAP absolutely reduced food insecurity for the households who got the benefit,” Dean said.

The hunger relief organization Feeding America estimated that around 50 million people experienced food insecurity because of the pandemic in 2020.