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SNAP: Combating Food Insecurity and Reducing Poverty in America

SNAP: A Much-Needed Program To Combat Food Insecurity

Overview

As we wake up every morning, the thought of what we are going to eat for breakfast may cross our minds; however, we dont have to worry much because we know that we have a full fridge with options for our next meal. Unfortunately, not everyone has that assurance, and it is estimated that 41 million Americans, including children, elderly adults, disabled adults, and workers, require the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) to put food on the table.

This article highlights the benefits and eligibility of SNAP, its role in reducing hunger and food insecurity, and the maximum and minimum benefits for 2022.

Benefits and Eligibility

SNAP is a federal program, formerly known as food stamps, that provides low-income people with benefits to purchase food. Eligible individuals and families must meet specific income and asset limits to be considered.

For instance, in 2022, the gross monthly income for a household of four must be at or below $3,192 for the household to qualify. Additionally, the household must have assets of $2,250 or less.

Benefits are deposited into an electronic benefits transfer (EBT) card that works like a debit card. This benefit can be used to purchase eligible food items but cannot be used to purchase alcohol, tobacco, non-food products, and hot cooked food.

Overall, the goal of the program is to reduce hunger and malnutrition among low-income people.

Role in Reducing Hunger and Food Insecurity

Research shows that SNAP significantly reduces hunger and food insecurity among households who receive it. A report by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) estimates that SNAP lifted 3.1 million people above the poverty line in 2019.

Furthermore, the program helps low-wage workers to obtain adequate food, allowing them to focus on other essential needs rather than worrying about where their next meal will come from. The program also has a noticeable impact on children’s health and academic achievement by providing full stomachs, which translates to better cognitive development and academic performance.

Finally, SNAP benefits have a significant impact on disabled adults and elderly adults who may otherwise have limited access to nutritious food.

Maximum Benefits for 2022

The maximum allotment for SNAP benefits for a household of one is set to increase to $250 per month in 2022, up from $234. The increase will apply to 48 states, while Alaska, Hawaii, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands have higher maximum allotments.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the maximum benefit amount is determined by the cost of the USDA’s Thrifty Food Plan (TFP). TFP is a model of a healthy and low-cost diet that adheres to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

Minimum Benefits for 2022

In 2022, the minimum benefit for SNAP will increase from $16 to $20 per month for households with one or two individuals in 48 states, along with Alaska, Hawaii, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The increase will not result in additional expenses for states since the USDA funds SNAP benefits.

USDA’s Thrifty Food Plan

The average SNAP benefit per person per day is determined by the USDA’s TFP. The TFP is a model of a nutritious and low-cost diet based on the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

The USDA periodically updates the TFP to reflect the cost of a healthy diet in each state. Additionally, the USDA updates the TFP to reflect current economic circumstances and food prices.

Emergency Allotments

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act allows states to administer SNAP emergency allotments during national public health emergencies. This provision permits states to provide emergency benefits to SNAP households that have not yet received the maximum allotment for their household size.

Future of SNAP

SNAP will likely play an important role in the economic impacts of the pandemic, inflation, and other financial hardships. Governments may be expected to increase the SNAP benefits to help people cope with financial crises.

Conclusion

SNAP is a necessary program for those who struggle to put food on the table due to poverty, disability, and other circumstances. Its benefits include reducing food insecurity and hunger while lifting millions of people out of poverty.

The maximum and minimum benefits for 2022 reflect the USDA’s TFP cost of a nutritious and low-cost diet. SNAP is poised to continue being an important program in the wake of the pandemic, inflation, and financial crises.

As a society, it is essential that we support SNAP to ensure that everyone has access to nutritious food. In conclusion, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is a vital federal program that helps reduce hunger and malnutrition among low-income individuals and families.

Eligible households must meet specific income and asset limits to participate in the program. The program provides a maximum and minimum allotment of benefits for 2022, which are calculated based on the cost of a nutritious diet and updated periodically.

Research shows that SNAP significantly reduces food insecurity, poverty, and malnutrition among households that receive it. In the future, SNAP will play a crucial role in addressing economic impacts, inflation, and financial hardships resulting from the pandemic.

It is vital that SNAP continues to receive support to ensure that everyone has access to nutritious food.

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