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Thrifty Food Plan Increase Means More Nutrition Assistance Funding for American Samoa

Press Release
Release No.
WRO-081621
Contact: FNS Press Team

SAN FRANCISCO, August 16, 2021 – Today, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) announced a 23% increase, or $1.86 million in annual nutrition assistance for American Samoa. In fiscal year 2022, which starts Oct. 1, 2021, the territory will receive $10.047 million grant for the American Samoa Nutrition Assistance Program (NAP). In fiscal year 2021, American Samoa received $8.185 million for NAP.

The increase is driven by a Congressionally-mandated re-evaluation of the Thrifty Food Plan, an data-driven estimate of the cost of a nutritious, practical, cost-effective diet. The bipartisan Farm Bill passed through Congress in 2018 directed USDA to modernize the Thrifty Food Plan, which plays a critical role in determining benefit amounts for some federal nutrition assistance programs. Updating the TFP is of particular importance at a time in which the pandemic exacerbated and shined a light on the challenges of food insecurity in this country.

USDA engaged in a scientific, evidence-based process to modernize the TFP and make it more practical and up to date with current realities for the American people. “We’re pleased that American Samoa will receive additional funds to support their Nutrition Assistance Program. USDA is working to improve nutrition assistance in the territories and this is one of many steps we hope to take,” said USDA Food Nutrition Service Western Region Administrator Jesus Mendoza, Jr.

In America Samoa, during FY 2020, a monthly average of 3,952 people, or about 7.2 percent of American Samoa’s total estimated population of 55,519, received nutrition assistance. The average monthly benefit issuance was $531,229 or $134.42 per person. American Samoa’s Nutrition Assistance Program serves its low-income elderly, blind and disabled population.

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, USDA has provided crucial nutrition assistance funding across the U.S. and territories, to ensure everyone has access to nutritious food. Due to the economic impact resulting from COVID-19, the American Samoa Department of Health and Human Services deemed low-income individuals also to be eligible for the nutrition assistance, along with blind, disabled, and low-income elderly. An estimated additional 1,000 individuals were served. To date, American Samoa was authorized and received $3,597,532 additional nutrition assistance funding during the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Through the years, Americans struggling to put food on their table have relied on USDA’s nutrition assistance programs. They are among the most far-reaching, powerful tools available to ensure that all Americans, regardless of race, ethnicity, or background, have access to healthy, affordable food.

USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) 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.

Households in American Samoa with questions about nutrition assistance eligibility and benefits should contact the American Samoa Department of Human and Social Services via email ASNAP@dhss.as.

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08/16/2021