Here’s What the Historic Increase in Food Assistance Could Mean for Californians

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Photo of vegetables in a grocery store
The U.S. Department of Agriculture on Monday released a reevaluation of the Thrifty Food Plan, which is used to calculate SNAP benefits. (Photo by Matheus Cenali/Pexels)

The Biden administration has approved updates to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), giving families who currently receive governmental assistance additional funds to help feed themselves and their families. The recently approved funding is the largest single increase in benefits to date.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture on Monday released a reevaluation of the Thrifty Food Plan, which is used to calculate SNAP benefits, administered by CalFresh in California.

Its new calculations mean that the average CalFresh benefit could increase by roughly $70 per household, per month, beginning Oct. 1.

The impact will be felt by millions of people across California and the nation. The USDA says SNAP helps feed more than 42 million Americans (or 1 in 8) each month. More than 2.4 million California households receive support from CalFresh as of June 2021.

Information on how to apply for food assistance in California can be found here and you can apply here.

"A modernized Thrifty Food Plan is more than a commitment to good nutrition — it's an investment in our nation's health, economy, and security," Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said in a press release. "Ensuring low-income families have access to a healthy diet helps prevent disease, supports children in the classroom, reduces health care costs, and more. And the additional money families will spend on groceries helps grow the food economy, creating thousands of new jobs along the way."

The Biden administration is working to strengthen the country's social safety net, and has long aimed to increase food stamp benefits.

Click here to learn more about the Thrifty Food Plan and how it affects food assistance.


KQED's Lakshmi Sarah contributed to this story.

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