CV NEWS FEED // In the face of rising inflation, the Biden Administration has approved the largest permanent boost to food stamps in U.S. history to help struggling families.
The New York Times first reported the news of the more than 25 percent permanent increase that will raise the average food stamp benefit more than $36 above the $121 that beneficiaries received before the Covid-19 pandemic. This historic permanent increase, representing the highest individual hike in the federal program since it began, takes effect in October for more than 40 million recipients.
The increase, based on an analysis of how much a budget-conscious family of four spends on groceries, consists of an update to the Thrifty Food Plan, which determines the benefit amounts of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.
Most families use their food stamps within two weeks of receiving them, the Times noted in its report.
Since government spending creates and drives inflation, hiking the food stamp benefits will cause consumer costs to continue rising, and may cement impressions that the Biden Administration is incentivizing people not to return to work from Covid-19 lockdowns. The administration’s policies on rent moratoriums and unemployment benefits have drawn criticism from conservative-leaning economists on these grounds.
In the 2018 farm bill, the U.S. Congress ordered a USDA review of the food stamp program by 2022, and again every five years after that.
However, that Republican-led Congress did not approve any increase in the program, and the Biden Administration’s hike does not require congressional approval. The program was last adjusted in 2006.
Several news organizations including The Hill reported Monday that they were still awaiting a response from the Biden White House and Department of Agriculture to press inquiries.