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
The USDA Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) provides critical nutrition assistance to lower-income women, infants, and young children. During the coronavirus pandemic, unemployment has risen to levels greater than experienced during the Great Recession, and food insecurity has also increased, making WIC’s role more important … More
The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) was signed into law on December 10, 2015, reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965. ESSA created an opportunity to broaden accountability beyond traditional subjects, such as math, to potentially focus on health and wellness in schools. States could select health and … More
More than 21.8 million school-age children receive free or reduced-price school lunch and 12.6 million children receive free or reduced-price breakfast each day. Since updated nutrition standards for school meals, snack foods, and beverages have been implemented following passage of the 2010 Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, a growing body of … More