Keeping Up With SNAP Developments

FMI shares what’s happening in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

February 10, 2021

WASHINGTON—On multiple fronts, there have been recent developments related to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). In a recent blog, Hannah Walker, vice president of political affairs for FMI, outlined these updates.

The December 2020 COVID-19 relief package contained a temporary increase to SNAP benefits that will last through June, with President Biden asking Congress to extend it throughout this fiscal year or until the pandemic subsides. Biden also issued an Executive Order asking the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to take another look at the Thrifty Food Plan (TFP), which is the basis for the maximum SNAP benefits levels.

The Families First law gave the USDA authorization to extend waivers to states to give Emergency Allotments (EA) to families, along with monthly SNAP benefits. Biden has directed the USDA to “review the current EA guidance to determine if families at the maximum benefit level can receive EAs. If USDA determines they can, we can expect that states will change their requests to include those families,” Walker wrote.

SNAP participation rose over the past year by 14% from the previous year, with more than 42.9 million participants. Fueling those numbers has been some changes in SNAP eligibility after Congress waived the existing SNAP work requirements.

The rollout of the ability for SNAP benefits to be used online has extended nearly nationwide, but more retailers need to be authorized to participate to meet the growing need. “While states were quick to go live, the process for retailers has proven to be much slower and challenging,” Walker wrote.

Finally, Congress did reauthorize and expand P-EBT benefits for the 2020-21 school year, including new guidance from the USDA to increase the daily value at $6.82 per child.

For compliance resources for the convenience retailing industry and to learn more about the program, visit the NACS Advocacy SNAP issues page.