By Suzanne Potter, California News Service
Photo courtesy of California News Service
September 30, 2021 (Sacramento) -- Here’s good news for low-income families who depend on SNAP, the federal food-assistance program: their monthly allotment will go up by about 21%, starting in October.
Each person eligible for SNAP now will get an average increase of about $36 on his or her EBT card - an injection of about $2 billion for the state's neediest families. If they're already receiving SNAP benefits, said Frank Tamborello, executive director of Hunger Action Los Angeles, they don't need to do anything extra.
"The increase is going to be automatic," he said. "There's no paperwork that has to be submitted. And it's going to happen across the board for the entire country. This is a permanent increase going forward."
In August, the administration revised a program known as the Thrifty Food Plan for the first time since 1975. It lists the minimum amount of food a family would need to purchase for a healthy diet. That change prompted the increase in SNAP benefits.
In addition, many farmers markets around the state are going to increase the Market Match program by 50%, also starting in October. Right now, people who receive CalFresh benefits get $10 in vouchers for every $10 they spend at a farmers market; that match will now be $15.
Harry Brown-Hiegel, manager of farmers markets in Pomona and Los Angeles, said the extra money will give kids better access to fresh fruits and vegetables.
"Obviously, parents have more purchasing power," he said, "and to increase that, there's so many problems, including COVID, that nutrition is a key element in."
To find out if your local market takes part in the Market Match program, check online at MarketMatch.org. The increase in that program will continue through the end of the year.