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SNAP reductions ‘could exacerbate an already challenging situation’

Media Contact

Damien Sharp

Pandemic-related boosts in the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) will end today across the country for millions of Americans. 

Angela Odoms-Young, a nutritional sciences professor of at Cornell University whose research focuses on health outcomes in low-income populations, says that because of the re-evaluation of the Thrifty Food Plan in 2021, which is used to set SNAP benefits, it is unlikely that SNAP allotments will decline to pre-pandemic levels.

Angela Odoms-Young

Associate Professor Division of Nutritional Sciences

“The good news is that as of October 1, 2021, the USDA re-evaluated the Thrifty Food Plan (TFP), used to set SNAP benefits, which increased the purchasing power of the plan by 21% for the first time since it was introduced in 1975. At that time, SNAP maximum benefit amounts increased. 

“Because of the TFP re-evaluation, it is likely that SNAP allotments will not decline to pre-pandemic levels, but this reduction from the pandemic-related boosts could exacerbate an already challenging situation for many families and communities. 

“The pandemic unveiled the complex challenges of food and nutrition insecurity, particularly among households with children and in communities of color, which experience higher levels of food and nutrition insecurity than other households. While our federal and charitable food assistance programs can help address families’ immediate need and effectively reduce hunger, our communities should also target the root and upstream causes of food insecurity, including promoting policies that ensure living wage jobs, reduce unemployment and income inequity, support affordable housing, and address systemic racism and racial discrimination.”

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