With unemployment currently at a record high as a result of COVID-19, participation in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is expected to increase significantly. Congress has already passed three COVID-19 aid bills, which include SNAP provisions such as funding for emergency benefits for SNAP households and program administrative flexibilities. This issue brief that reviews the evidence on the impact of increased SNAP benefits on the economy and on SNAP households in the context of the current SNAP benefit allotment. It also discusses the SNAP provisions in the three congressional COVID-19 aid bills that have been already been enacted. Findings from this review of the evidence include: increased SNAP expenditures effectively boost and stabilize the economy; larger SNAP benefits reduce poverty and food insecurity, and increase food spending; current SNAP benefits are inadequate to cover a households’ food costs; and SNAP benefit inadequacy has negative implications for health and education. These findings highlight the current inadequacy of SNAP benefits, which is likely amplified as a result of COVID-19, as well as the evidence that increasing SNAP benefits is a proven policy approach to stimulate the economy.
The Impact of Increasing SNAP Benefits on Stabilizing the Economy, Reducing Poverty and Food Insecurity amid COVID‑19 Pandemic
Special Issue on School Nutrition and Meal Cost Study-I: Findings Related to Improving Diet Quality, Weight, and Disparities in U.S. Children
School meals are important contributors to the healthy diets of our nation’s children, especially those in food insecure households, according to new papers published in a special issue of the journal Nutrients. The papers address urgent policy challenges related to food security, childhood obesity, sugar consumption, and racial and ethnic … More
In the next year, an estimated 1 in 4 children will experience food insecurity (up from 1 in 6, pre-pandemic), disproportionately impacting children in low-income households and racial/ethnic minorities. To mediate loss of school meals during closures and reduce COVID-19 exposure, Congress authorized the USDA to permit local education authorities … More
Food insecurity among households with children under 18 has increased dramatically during the COVID pandemic; from 15% in 2018 to 28% in June 2020. Governments and school districts have rapidly adopted policies to help children facing food insecurity as a result of the pandemic. Two leading policies include the Pandemic-Electronic … More