Changes to the Food Stamps Program You Need to Know

Emily Chan
Published Sep 7, 2023


Food insecurity is happening far more often than most folks realize. The latest figures from April 2023 show that 41.9 million people in 22.2 million households received SNAP benefits. That comes down to recipients making up 12.5% of the total U.S. population. Meantime, Congress has voted on some revisions to the food stamps program. Here's what you need to know:

 

Enacting New Work Requirements for Those Ages 50 to 54


Congress has come up with a measure that affects those ages 50 to 54 with new work requirements. For instance, some of the recipients who could lose SNAP would be working. The issue here could occur in individuals struggling to consistently meet the 20-hour requirement or to provide documentation of their hours.

If you fall under one of the following categories, however, you don't have to meet those specifications:

  • those experiencing homelessness of all ages

  • veterans of all ages

  • young people ages 18 to 24 who aged out of foster care

  •  
All of the changes are set to end in 2030. Still, this agreement could harm many older, low-income adults and put them at risk of losing benefits. Some 750,000 individuals could be excluded from SNAP assistance.

Currently, the work requirements limit able-bodied adults without dependents ages 18-50 to three months of SNAP benefits. This is given during any 36-month period when they cannot show they're employed or in a work or training program for at least 20 hours a week.

 

Each State across the Country on Its Own Issuing Coupons


The federal government offers the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) in money that's deposited monthly to an EBT debit card, which is accepted at select stores. What can become confusing is that these payments are administered by the state governments. Each state is unique in how it processes its own coupons and the payment dates it chooses. Always check with your local SNAP office for contact and application information. Click on this government website here for details.

 

SNAP Stamps and Receiving the Maximum Benefits


Did you know that the average SNAP voucher equals $180 for an individual?

However, depending on your economic situation and the number of members in your family, you may qualify to receive the maximum in benefits (until Sept. 30th). Take a look below:

  • 1 member: $281

  • 2 members: $516

  • 3 members: $740

  • 4 members: $939

  • 5 members: $1,116

  • 6 members: $1,339

  • 7 members: $1480

  • 8 members: $1691

  • Additional member: +$211
 

Good News: SNAP Benefits Increasing in October


Starting on October 1st of this year, maximum SNAP benefits for 2024 will increase by 3.5 to 3.8%. These are the maximum amounts that will be awarded in the 48 contiguous United States, including the District of Columbia.

That means that now, 1 household member would receive: $291, 2 members: $535, 3 members: $766, and so on.

 

Simple Ways in Stretching Your SNAP Benefits


You want to eat nutritious foods and still make sure that you and/or your family are eating enough. During these inflationary times, the cost of food seems out of control to most folks, but you can make the most of your food budget with these professional tips:

1. Stock up on Staples.
Rice, beans and pasta are considered excellent kitchen cupboard staples that can build nutritional meals. These foods are affordable and filling, so stock up, especially when they're on sale.

2. Shop at Farmers Markets.
Most communities feature fresh produce at farmers markets, and you can select from a wide variety of fruits and vegetables. Some of these markets also have the Double Up Food Bucks program, where SNAP recipients buy more fresh fruit/veggies by matching the value of their benefits at participating markets and grocery stores.

3. Use Coupons.
There's no shame in using discounts or coupons to further lower the price of your grocery needs. You can find coupons online and in your local newspaper, or become a "loyal member" of a grocery store for discounts that add up.

The Food Stamps program has been around for decades now. It's not perfect, but it's a tremendous source of help to many across the nation. Keep ahead of the changes and new trends taking effect.




 

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