The Iowa Hunger Coalition commends the USDA’s modernization of the Thrifty Food Plan announced last week. This will result in a 27% increase to the average Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefit amount for 285,000 Iowans enrolled in the program, known in Iowa as Food Assistance. This will amount to an additional $116 million in annual SNAP benefits from the federal government for program participants in Iowa.
The increase will take effect on October 1, one day after a temporary 15% increase to SNAP benefits included in the 2021 American Rescue Plan expires on September 30.
“Over the last 17 months, our food pantry—like many across Iowa—has experienced a record number of visitors,” said John Boller, Executive Director of the Coralville Community Food Pantry and Iowa Hunger Coalition board member. “Though food pantries have served as a constant safety net for Iowans in the midst of an unprecedented crisis, we have not fought hunger alone. Safety net programs like SNAP, especially the Emergency Allotments made available throughout the course of the pandemic, have been crucial in ensuring food security throughout our state. I wholeheartedly welcome the new increase in SNAP benefits, which will put more food on the table for those who need and deserve it.”
Since April 2020, SNAP program participants in Iowa have been receiving the maximum possible benefit amounts due to Emergency Allotments being issued by the USDA. This has led to a 100% increase in the total amount of SNAP benefits issued in the state. Emergency allotments will continue to be issued until the state lifts the emergency health declaration.
“While the USDA’s announcement is great news for people enrolled in SNAP, there are still many Iowans struggling with hunger and food insecurity who do not qualify for the program,” said Natalie Veldhouse, Policy Advocate at Common Good Iowa and chair of the Iowa Hunger Coalition. “We have also yet to see the impending result of ending Emergency Allotments that is sure to have a large impact on Iowans facing hunger and the nonprofit organizations that assist them. The pandemic has affirmed that safety net programs like SNAP are very effective in meeting the economic and health needs of people experiencing poverty.”