Each October 1, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) adjusts the standards and deductions used to determine the amount of monthly benefits an eligible family will receive. This toolkit provides tools and resources to help community organizations when working with SNAP applicants.
The 2023 SNAP maximum benefit amounts under USDA’s Thrift Food Plan (TFP) were increased to reflect the annual inflation rate (12.4%). The maximum SNAP benefit for a four-person household will increase from $835 to $939, but will be $75 below the level calibrated to the more realistic Low-Cost Food Plan.
Policy Changes Needed
A growing number of members of Congress and other stakeholders agree that the Low-Cost Food Plan is the more appropriate basis for determining SNAP benefits. Currently, 109 House members and 5 senators have cosponsored the bill (H.R. 4077/S. 2192) that Rep. Alma Adams (D-NC) and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) introduced to replace the TFP with the Low-Cost Food Plan as the basis for calculating SNAP benefits.
H.R. 4077/S. 2192 would also:
- Improve SNAP benefit adequacy and equity by removing the arbitrary cap on the shelter deduction and improving the standard excess medical deduction. These changes would ease the struggles that too many families with children face in paying for both food and housing, and that too many persons who are elderly or have disabilities face in paying for both food and medicine.
- Provide Puerto Rico, American Samoa, and the Northern Mariana Islands with pathways to operate SNAP. The block grants that they have for residents now are less able to respond to changes in need than regular SNAP is, whether those changes are caused by recessions or natural disasters or pandemics.
For more information see the Food Research and Action Center’s (FRAC) blog Annual Inflation Adjustment Will Increase SNAP Allotments but Fundamental Change is Needed to Close Meal Affordability Gap