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
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
Strengthening the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) through State Waiver Flexibilities: Perspectives from the National Network of State SNAP Directors
The rapid rise in food insecurity among households with children during COVID-19 has reinforced the critical role SNAP plays in reducing food insecurity and poverty, particularly in low-income communities of color. Waivers and other state program modifications enacted during the pandemic could improve access to SNAP and reduce income and … More