SNAP Updates for 2023
- SNAP is an acronym that stands for the "Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program," which was formerly known as the food stamp program.
- It is funded by the federal government, through Congressional spending bills, but it is handled by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
- After COVID hit in 2020, the bulk of SNAP recipients received some pretty substantial increases in order to afford food, and those increases have been carrying through for the entire calendar year of 2022.
Good news! This December, most SNAP recipients got at least another $100 per month to spend on food around the holiday season.
However, the economy only seems to be getting worse going into 2023, and so a lot of people are worried that SNAP benefits may roll back.
So, what's the outlook for SNAP in 2023?
As of December 2022, the average multi-person family receiving SNAP gets around $699 per month in order to buy groceries.
The maximum benefit was recently raised to $939, for families with four or more people.
A lot of people fear that these increases will be rolled back due to how the federal government has been treating its assistance programs as of late.
For instance, Section 8 is entirely underfunded. Joe Biden slashed HUD's budget completely in half compared to what Trump gave them to spend, and so most people who need Section 8 housing now are on waiting lists instead of in homes.
The Biden administration also did away with the federal unemployment supplement.
Whether these are good or bad things done by this administration, you can personally be the judge of that.
This is merely pointing out the fact that Biden did cancel the unemployment program, and he did slice HUD's budget completely in half.
These are objective facts, and so it stands to reason that people believe that their food stamps will be the next item on the chopping block.
Inflation is causing a lot of food insecurity around the nation, with an estimated 80 million Americans having trouble purchasing enough food; and these are the people not on SNAP.
So, as another year is quickly approaching, and no signs in sight that inflation is going to calm down, Americans are panicking that they may not be able to afford food next year.
The good news for SNAP recipients is that your increases are not going to roll back, nor are your current benefits going to be cancelled.
That is not to say that changes have not been made, however. There are going to be new guidelines released, and they even started to roll out this month in some states.
The threshold for applying is decreasing. In other words, even if you cannot afford food, you might be said to make too much to receive SNAP benefits. If you're a family of four (or more) with a monthly income of $4,600, you will no longer be eligible.
Some say this is reasonable, though a lot of activists are pointing out that everything costs more now. As of right now, $4k per month only has the spending power of what $2,500 had in 2020.
The federal government can give you useless numbers about where inflation is at, but those numbers do not matter when Americans cannot afford groceries because everything is too expensive.
The silver lining here is that you will not lose benefits if you currently have them, unless you end up claiming more income.
The Crown Jewel of Government's Assistance Programs
The FDA's SNAP program is the only reliable government assistance program there is.
Even with Social Security, there are multiple times during the year where something happens and seniors don't get their SSI checks, of where increases weren't added to the balance.
Though when it comes to SNAP, this is likely the best-run program of the bunch.
It still has its problems, and you can still find a lot of fraud involved, but far fewer Americans have to be insecure about buying food thanks to SNAP benefits.
The point here is that it's highly unlikely that this program just starts failing in 2023, like so many other federal programs. SNAP will likely be safe.
Just remember that increases are not guaranteed. Purchase your food with care. Aim for actual food for your family and take it easy on all those sodas and snacks.
If inflation keeps climbing yet SNAP doesn't increase, you're going to find it a lot harder to buy groceries, even if you are receiving the maximum allotted benefit.