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A sign noting the acceptance of EBT cards that are used by state welfare departments to issue benefits is displayed at a convenience store in California. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

The Biden administration on Monday announced a major permanent increase to food assistance benefits, providing additional aid to low-income families.

Why it matters: It's the largest increase in the history of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), with average monthly benefits set to rise by around $36 per person.

  • In January, Biden issued an executive order increasing the scope of SNAP and other food assistance programs, prompting the reevaluation of the Thrifty Food Plan, which is used to calculate SNAP benefits.
  • The changes reflect the "shifts in the food marketplace and consumers’ circumstances," since the program was created in 1975 per the Department of Agriculture.
  • The increase is slated to begin on Oct. 1, for fiscal year 2022.

The big picture: Nearly 43.8 million people were on the program in 2020, up from 35.7 million in 2019, Axios' Oriana Gonzalez writes.

  • The increase excludes additional funding provided by pandemic-related aid and comes as many states are rescinding their emergency declarations, the Washington Post notes.
  • The coronavirus drove federal spending on the program up by an average of 28% per month last year, nearly double the largest monthly growth seen during the Great Recession.

Go deeper

Social Security benefits to increase by almost 6% in 2022

Photo: Jeffrey Greenberg/Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Social Security benefits for approximately 70 million Americans will increase 5.9% next year, the Social Security Administration announced Wednesday.

Why it matters: It's the largest cost-of-living adjustment in 39 years as inflation continues to tick up largely from supply chain issues, according to AP.

Updated Oct 12, 2021 - Axios Philadelphia

Philadelphia chef Kurt Evans provides second chances through food

Chef Kurt Evans speaks to guest during one of his End Mass Incarceration dinners. Photo: Marc Williams/courtesy of Kurt Evans

Kurt Evans already has an impressive list of titles: chef, restaurateur, activist and educator.

  • Now, he's turning his focus to creating a pipeline of new culinary experts among formerly incarcerated people in Philadelphia.

Why it matters: Roughly 27% of formerly incarcerated people living in the U.S. are unemployed, according to the latest figures from the Prison Policy Institute. That rate has likely become worse since the pandemic.

Tina Reed, author of Vitals
3 hours ago - Health

FDA panel endorses shot of J&J booster for adults

Photo: Wolfgang Kumm/picture alliance via Getty Images)

Members of the Food and Drug Administration's vaccine expert panel on Friday unanimously endorsed a booster shot for adult recipients of Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine at least two months after the initial dose.

Why it matters: The advisory committee raised concerns about a dearth of data to support their decision but ultimately decided to support an additional shot for those over 18.