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An Increase In SNAP Benefits Will Allow More Food Options For Low-Income Families In New York

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Jean Beaufort
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Public Domain
Fruits and vegetables in a grocery store

New York State is boosting the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) to the tune of a 40% increase per meal per person. SNAP is a government program that provides low-income people with money to buy food at authorized retailers through a system similar to a debit card. About 2/3 of SNAP recipients are children, seniors, and people living with disabilities.

Director of Government Relations at the Food Bank of Central New York Becky Lare says there’s still more progress to be made, but this is a step in the right direction. She explains this expansion was called for.

"SNAP needed to be modernized and reflect the changes to cost of food and changes to the American diet, modernizing and making sure that SNAP benefits reflect that change.” said Lare.

Now, low-income families will have more food options. SNAP helps families purchase their own groceries to keep them from leaning too much on food pantries or soup kitchens. Lare says these added benefits also give families healthier options.

“When a household is struggling to make ends meet, typically the first budget line that is easiest for them to cut is their grocery budget,” said Lare. “They scale back on what groceries they’re purchasing, they’re buying lesser quality food, probably less produce”

This expansion came after New York State asked the USDA to re-evaluate SNAP for the first time since the 1970s. The agency examined the cost of healthy foods that meet new dietary standards. This is what prompted the state to increase SNAP benefits.