ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — New Yorkers in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) should see an increase of about $36 per family member starting next month.
All New Yorkers receiving SNAP benefits will get more money because of a federal cost adjustment, according to the office of Gov. Kathy Hochul on Tuesday. The new regular monthly amount attempts to better provide low-income individuals and families access to healthy foods.
“Now more than ever, New Yorkers are seeing their money for food stretched thinner and thinner, which in turn forces them into making food choices that are cheaper, but far less nutritious,” Hochul said in a statement. “This long-overdue increase in benefits will give households across New York State the purchasing power to buy nutritious foods, which in turn will ultimately result in healthier outcomes.”
In New York, the maximum benefit for a family of four will grow from $680 to $835. Nearly 3 million households throughout the state were enrolled in SNAP in July.
The boost in benefits brings over $1.4 billion in federal funding to the state, according to Hochul’s office. Every dollar of SNAP benefits spent results in about $1.59 in economic activity, according to federal estimates.
Last year, the USDA reevaluated the plan used to calculate SNAP benefits, resulting in the first cost adjustment in more than 45 years. The new plan also altered how eligibility is determined and the level of benefits received. The shift is meant to reflect changing dynamics in food sales and shoppers’ priorities over five decades.
The USDA evaluated current food prices, typically American diets, and nutritional value. The agency concluded that the cost of healthy, practical, and affordable food is 21% higher than SNAP benefits offered. Hochul’s office points out that studies consistently show that food benefit levels are too low to provide for a realistic, healthy diet, even with households adding funds to the pot.