In response to the pandemic, Congress temporarily increased SNAP benefits in two ways: raising all benefits by 15% and boosting every household to the maximum benefit for their household size. In April 2021, USDA took action to ensure that boost increased benefits for all households by at least $95 to help very low-income families who already received the maximum benefit – or close to it – before the pandemic.
The 15% increase expired for everyone on Sept. 30, 2021. The maximum benefit boost ends when a participant’s state or the federal government ends their pandemic emergency status.
Separate from COVID, Congress directed USDA to study the costs required to purchase a healthy diet. As a result, SNAP benefit amounts have been permanently adjusted as of Oct. 1, 2021, to provide 40-cents more per person, per meal.