State

Hoosiers see increase in SNAP benefits

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INDIANAPOLIS — Hoosiers enrolled in the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program should have seen an increase in their monthly benefits.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s largest-ever increase to regular SNAP benefits, 21%, went into effect Oct. 1. At the same time, the pandemic-related 15% increase in SNAP benefits is ending.

Emily Weikert Bryant, executive director of Feeding Indiana’s Hungry, said the federal program has played a huge role in helping Indiana families. The increase should be $12 to $16 per person, per month.

“Almost all households will see that modest increase,” Weikert Bryant said. “The exact amount for individual households will be different. And states are automatically making these changes, so SNAP recipients don’t need to do anything.”

All SNAP recipients in Indiana have been receiving the maximum amount due to the pandemic. Weikert Bryant noted that’s a state policy, and it will end once Indiana is no longer under a public health emergency order.

Weikert Bryant added the overall SNAP benefit increase is long overdue. The USDA’s Thrifty Food Plan measures the cost of a market basket of nutritious, low-cost foods for a family of four.

She pointed out before now, the USDA would adjust the cost of a 1975 market basket of groceries to inflation, but this increase is based on what items actually cost today, and what we have since learned about nutrition.

“Looking more at what a healthy diet is now, compared to what we thought it was in 1975, so there’s more dairy, there’s more protein, things like that,” Weikert Bryant outlined. “We eat differently now than we did 40 years ago.”

She noted if folks have questions about their benefits, they can call the number on the back of their EBT card. And to check their benefit amount, they can use the online checking system or the Providers app.

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