WASHINGTON, April 29, 2021 — The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is providing states with $1.135 billion from the American Rescue Plan Act to support and enhance their administration of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Programs (SNAP) at a time when millions of Americans are struggling to put food on their tables. This is a unique opportunity for states to maximize the impact of SNAP now and into the future.
“SNAP is the most far-reaching, powerful tool available to ensure that all Americans, regardless of background, have access to healthy, affordable groceries,” said Stacy Dean, deputy undersecretary for food, nutrition, and consumer services. “With this American Rescue Plan funding, USDA is empowering states to make lasting improvements to their administration of SNAP so they can best help those facing food hardship and connect them with the assistance they need.”
State agencies may use the administrative funds, provided over the next three years, for a variety of purposes, including investing in technology to improve access to SNAP benefits, exploring opportunities to better reach vulnerable populations, and improving reporting on program outcomes to enable data-driven decision making. These efforts will help states better serve the more than 41 million Americans who rely on SNAP.
SNAP has proven to be a vital tool in ensuring those in need continue to have access to food throughout the pandemic. USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) recently increased emergency SNAP benefits, providing an additional $1 billion per month to an estimated 25 million in the lowest-income households. As of April 1, USDA issued approximately $29 billion in additional SNAP benefits since the start of the pandemic. These benefits not only help SNAP recipients but also the communities where they live and the stores where they shop.
The announcement today comes in addition to a variety of actions taken recently by USDA to strengthen food security, drive down hunger, and put a greater emphasis on the importance of nutrition. Just recently, USDA maximized economic relief for struggling families by taking administrative action on SNAP emergency allotments by targeting an additional $1 billion per month to roughly 25 million people. The American Rescue Plan Act provides over $12 billion in new nutrition assistance to address hardship caused by the pandemic, including:
- Extending a 15% increase in SNAP benefits— providing over $1.1 billion per month in additional benefits for about 41 million participants—through September 2021;
- Adding $1.1 billion in new funding for territories that operate nutrition assistance block grants—home to nearly 3 million Americans—to support those hard-hit by the pandemic;
- Extending and expanding P-EBT—a program that served over 8.4 million families with children at its peak last year—through the duration of the public health emergency;
- Funding meals for young adults experiencing homelessness through Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) emergency shelters;
- Providing nearly $900 million for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC), including a temporary increase in fruit and vegetable vouchers to $35 per month and an historic investment in innovation and outreach to better serve more than 6.2 million people that use WIC to support a healthy start for infants and young children.
Additional information on the American Rescue Plan and FNS programs can be found on our website.
USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service leverages its 15 nutrition assistance programs to ensure that children, low-income individuals, and families have opportunities for a better future through equitable access to safe, healthy, and nutritious food, while building a more resilient food system. Under the leadership of Secretary Tom Vilsack, FNS is fighting to end food and nutrition insecurity for all through programs such as SNAP, school meals, and WIC. FNS also provides science-based nutrition recommendations through the co-development of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. To learn more, visit www.fns.usda.gov.