SNAP Benefits are Changing. Here's What You Need to Know.

SNAP provides benefits for families to buy food

On October 1, 2021, most households that receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) will see a modest increase in their benefits thanks to an update to the Thrifty Food Plan (TFP).

  • The average increase will be between $12 and $16 per person per month. The exact amount may be different for individual households.
  • Some households with children may also see Pandemic EBT (P-EBT) benefits on their EBT cards as well. 
  • This all will happen automatically. You do not need to take any action.
  • If you have questions about SNAP benefit amounts, please contact your local SNAP office. You may also find information by dialing 211 in most states.
  • For more information on the Thrifty Food Plan and pandemic changes to SNAP, check out this in-depth guide from No Kid Hungry.

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions. 

Q: Why are SNAP benefits going up just a little?

Starting in October, almost all SNAP households will see a modest increase in their SNAP benefits because of two changes that will happen at the same time.

  • SNAP benefit amounts are based on the Thrifty Food Plan (TFP). USDA recently re-evaluated the TFP based on current data to reflect the cost of a healthy diet. This increased the purchasing power of regular SNAP benefits for the first time since 1975. As a result, starting in October, maximum SNAP benefit amounts (excluding pandemic-related increases) will increase by 21%. Learn more here. 
  • However, at the same time, the pandemic-related 15% increase to SNAP benefits that has been in place since January will end. 

Q: What about "emergency allotments?" 

Along with the temporary 15% increase to SNAP benefits mentioned above, many states also temporary increased households' SNAP benefits to the maximum amount during the pandemic, which was called the "emergency allotment." When emergency allotments end, benefits will drop by at least $95 per month per household. 

  • Households in most states are still getting emergency allotments as a supplement on top of their regular benefit amount every month. These will stop as these states end them, or when the federal public health emergency ends. 
  • Idaho, Maryland, North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, Florida, Nebraska and Missouri will have already ended emergency allotments for households by the end of September 2021. 

Q: I read that SNAP benefits are going to increase by 27%. Is that true?

Not exactly. On October 1, the change to the Thrifty Food Plan (TFP) means the average SNAP benefit will increase by about 27% (compared to what it would have been before the pandemic). 

At the same time, on September 20, the temporary 15% benefit increase households have received this year in response to the pandemic will end. 

Taken together, this means the actual increase most households will see in October will generally be between $12 and $16 per person per month. 

Q: How much will my SNAP benefits increase?

In states that are still providing emergency allotments, the table below shows the amount SNAP benefits will increase starting in October 2021. 

In states that have already ended emergency allotments, SNAP benefit changes will generally be close to the amounts shown in the table but may differ slightly because of other annual adjustments that will take effect at the same time. Households receiving the minimum benefit amount in September will see a smaller benefit increase than the ones shown in the table. 

Monthly Snap Benefit Increase 2021.png

Q: When will my benefits change?

Households in most states will see a modest increase in their monthly benefit in October 2021, and a decrease when the temporary pandemic-related emergency allotments end. The changes in states that have already ended emergency allotments (Idaho, Maryland, North Dakota, Montana, Florida, Nebraska and Missouri) will be different. 

Q: Are these changes permanent? 

  • The increase to the non-pandemic SNAP benefit amount is permanent. 
  • Your SNAP benefit amount may change based on your household's circumstances.
  • Additionally, your benefit allotment amount may change again this coming year if emergency allotments end in your state. 

If you have questions about when or how much your benefits will change, contact your local SNAP office. You can find information from local state SNAP offices. You may also find information by dialing 211 in most states.

This post contains information provided by Share Our Strength, the USDA and the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.