SANTA FE, N.M. (KAMR/KCIT) — The New Mexico Human Services Department announced state residents who receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) will see an increase in the monthly benefit starting Oct. 1.
SNAP provides food assistance to low-income households. The department said in a press release more than 539,758 New Mexicans receive the monthly benefit.
“This increase in food benefits will help alleviate hunger in New Mexico among children and families in the wake of the dual health and economic crisis caused by the pandemic,” said Angela Medrano, deputy secretary for the New Mexico Human Services Department. “The additional money families spend on food will also help grow the food economy in our state.”
According to the Human Services Department, the change will result in a “21% increase from the base calculation from pre-pandemic levels,” meaning participating households will see an average increase of $36 per person (about $1.20 per day). The department stated that families of four will see the maximum benefit rise to $835 a month.
“I haven’t had to use public funding much in my life since I was a young person, but with age and medical issues coming my way, the SNAP benefits have been extremely beneficial in providing food for me,” said Rebecca Shaw, an eligible New Mexico SNAP beneficiary. “The extra COVID amount of SNAP has allowed me to purchase food that is extremely nutritious particularly now that I am experiencing medical issues. I cannot express my gratitude more at this time. It came in exactly when I needed it. I am hoping that I will recover and be able to work again and provide help to others as I have been helped at this time.”
The United States Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service (USDA FNS) announced the change will happen nationwide as of Oct. 1, 2021. USDA FNS has adjusted the maximum SNAP benefits, deductions, and income eligibility standards, the release stated. Such adjustments are called “SNAP Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA),” which determines the maximum benefit amount and the income threshold for eligible recipients based on cost of living changes.
According to a study published by USDA over the summer, nine out of 10 SNAP participants have reported facing barriers to achieving a healthy diet due to the cost of healthy foods. The release said one in eight Americans receive SNAP benefits each month. That’s more than 42 million people.
The Human Services Department explained while the maximum SNAP benefit will see a 21% increase, the pandemic relief measure that increased the benefits by 15% will end.
This chart shows the maximum SNAP benefit from January 2021 through September 2021, the increase provided by the Consolidated Appropriations Act, and the increased amount beginning Oct. 1, 2021:
|Household Size||Current Maximum SNAP Benefit|
January 1 – Sept 30, 2021
|NEW Maximum Benefit|
October 1, 2021 – Sept 30, 2022
|Each Additional Person||+$176||+$188|
You can contact the Consolidated Customer Service Center at 1-800-283-4465 for more information.