Federal diet subsidies do not cowl the typical meal price in additional than 4 in 10 U.S. counties, even after Congress elevated advantages, a brand new examine discovered.
Earlier than the non permanent 15% enhance to the utmost Supplemental Diet Assistant Program profit, the utmost subsidy didn’t cowl the price of a low-income meal in 96% of U.S. counties, in response to analysis from the City Institute, funded by the Robert Wooden Johnson Basis. Whereas the non permanent enhance—set to run out on Sept. 30—has decreased charges of meals insecurity, it nonetheless does not cowl the typical meal of $2.41 in 40.5% of U.S. counties.
“Our findings present the utmost SNAP profit nonetheless leaves a niche in masking the price of meals for a lot of households with low-incomes,” Elaine Waxman, senior fellow on the City Institute, mentioned in ready remarks. “About 4 in 10 households receiving SNAP have zero web earnings—if SNAP doesn’t cowl the price of a meal, individuals in such households will likely be at excessive danger of experiencing meals insecurity. Extra consideration of the geographic variation in meals costs when setting SNAP profit ranges is crucial to the well being and well-being of essentially the most susceptible communities.”
Policymakers ought to completely elevate SNAP advantages, at minimal, in addition to monitor the regional variation in meals costs, researchers mentioned. Rising entry to wholesome meals can cut back the speed of persistent illness, specialists mentioned.
Within the 20 counties with the most important hole between most SNAP advantages and the typical price of a low-income meal, common low-income meal prices vary from $3.23 to $6.16, or 64% to 213% larger than the SNAP profit per meal.
Greater than 40 million Individuals, almost half of whom are kids, use SNAP.