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 Online Purchasing Pilot, which allows SNAP participants to shop and pay for groceries online, rapidly expanded during the COVID-19 pandemic. From March 2020 to March 2021, the number of participating states increased from 5 to 47. This brief assesses whether the Pilot promotes healthy food access (using the … More
Acceptability, Preference, and No-Show Rates for In-Person and Phone-Based Consultations at Nine WIC Centers in New York City Before and During COVID-19
Access to WIC benefits typically requires an in-person visit to a WIC center, however this became a challenge during the COVID-19 pandemic due to recommendations for social distancing to minimize and prevent the spread of the virus. As a result, in-person requirements were removed for all visits, except first time … More
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is the largest United States Department of Agriculture federal nutrition assistance program. As an entitlement program, SNAP is designed to expand as incomes fall, enabling the program to respond quickly when need increases. For example, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, SNAP served an average … More