SNAP Benefits See 12.5% Increase Due to Food Cost Inflation

by Marissa Sheldon, MPH
SNAP benefits

Part of the Food Policy Snapshot Series

Policy name: SNAP – Fiscal Year 2023 Cost-of-Living Adjustments

Overview: Benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), commonly referred to as food stamps, have increased 12.5 percent for fiscal year 2023 which began on October 1, 2022. 

Location: United States

Population: Approximately 42 million Americans receive SNAP benefits. 

Food policy category: Food security

Program goals: To help low-income households cover the rising costs of food in order to prevent hunger and food insecurity.  

How it works: Starting on October 1, SNAP benefits automatically increased by 12.5 percent for all participating households. For a family of four, this equates to $104 more per month to spend on groceries, for a total of $939 per month as compared to $835 received previously. 

Each year, the USDA uses the Thrifty Food Plan to assess the cost of a healthy diet, and that cost is used to update the maximum SNAP benefits for the following fiscal year. 

Progress to date: The USDA assessed the cost of the Thrifty Food Plan in June 2022 and the updated SNAP benefits went into effect on October 1.

Why it is important: The cost of groceries rose 12.2 percent from June 2021 to June 2022, and people receiving SNAP benefits have already been struggling to cover the cost of food for themselves and their families. Without an adequate increase in benefits to match the increase in food costs, individuals who participate in SNAP would be at a higher risk for experiencing hunger and food insecurity. 

Furthermore, hunger, food insecurity, and poor nutrition are associated with an increased risk for various chronic diseases including hypertension, coronary heart disease (CHD), hepatitis, stroke, cancer, asthma, diabetes, arthritis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and kidney disease.

A proper amount of financial support is essential for low-income households to be able to purchase the healthy foods needed to maintain nutrition and health. 

Program/Policy initiated: SNAP benefits increased on October 1, 2022. 

Point of contact: 
SNAP Toll-free Information Number: 1-800-221-5689
USDA Food & Nutrition Service: 703-305-2062

Similar practices: SNAP maximum allotments are revised every year, and the fiscal year 2023 update is the largest annual percentage increase since 1975

Evaluation: Food prices have continued to rise since the updated SNAP allotments were set in June 2022, so it is unclear if the 12.5 percent increase will be enough to offset the continually rising costs of food for the next 12 months. 

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