This week the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced a permanent increase to benefit levels for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) beginning on October 1, 2021. As a result of this increase, which was based on a long-overdue, evidence-based update to the way SNAP benefits are calculated, the average benefit will increase by $36.24 per person, per month, or $1.19 per day – the largest increase in the history of the program.
At 1,000 Days, we celebrate this change, which will make a real difference in the lives of millions of moms and babies around the country.
Good nutrition is critical to support the health and well-being of women and children during the first 1,000 days and beyond. But, millions of families in the United States lack consistent access to healthy food. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic and related economic recession hit, nearly 1 in 7 households with children were food insecure. When moms and babies lack adequate nutrition during the 1,000-day window, it puts their health and well-being at risk.
Research shows that SNAP improves families’ access to the nutrition they need to thrive, ultimately resulting in improved health, educational, and economic outcomes. (For more information on why SNAP matters for a healthy first 1,000 days, see our brief.) However, the reality is that SNAP benefits have long been insufficient for many families to achieve a healthy diet.
At 1,000 Days, we are committed to ensuring parents and caregivers have the resources they need to access good nutrition. That’s why we advocate for federal nutrition programs like SNAP to be fully funded, available to all moms and babies who need them, and designed to best meet the needs of today’s families – and that’s why we applaud the Biden administration for this week’s announcement.
To ensure the health and well-being of families in the United States, we must continue to invest in the policies and programs that they rely on to access nutrition, care, and support during the first 1,000 days.