For Immediate Release:
October 1, 2021
Amy Webb, Chief of Communications
Gavin Lesnick, Deputy Chief of Communications
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — A pair of important changes by the federal government to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) effective today will shift benefit amounts for most eligible households in Arkansas.
This may result in a modest increase in benefits for some households. However, amounts will vary based on each household’s circumstances, and some households may see a decrease in their benefit amounts if their circumstances have changed.
The new benefit amounts reflect two important changes: The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has ended a temporary 15 percent increase in SNAP benefits issued because of the pandemic, which by itself would cause October benefits to be lower for most households than previous recent months. USDA also recently re-evaluated the Thrifty Food Plan, the document on which SNAP benefit amounts are based. Starting today, average regular SNAP benefit amounts are about 27 percent higher than they were before the temporary pandemic increase.
If your SNAP case began after Jan. 1, 2021, your monthly benefit amount has always included the 15 percent pandemic increase.
These changes are permanent, and the new monthly benefit will continue in future months so long as the household’s eligibility does not change. Information on eligibility is available by clicking here.
SNAP amounts are set by the USDA, and the program is administered in Arkansas by the Arkansas Department of Human Services (DHS).
“This is an important program that ensures every family in Arkansas has access to healthy food,” said Mary Franklin, Director of the Division of County Operations at DHS. “We are committed to making sure this assistance goes to the people who need it.”
Some SNAP clients who have children eligible for Pandemic EBT (P-EBT) from the 2020-2021 school year also may see those payments issued to their accounts. Most eligible families already have received their full P-EBT benefits, but DHS is working to resolve some payments that were delayed.
SNAP provides food assistance to eligible households to cover a portion of a household’s food budget. Benefits are distributed through an Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card. SNAP benefits can be used to buy eligible food items for eating at home, including seeds and plants that produce food SNAP households to eat. In addition to food assistance, the program provides SNAP recipients with nutrition education, employment and training, and work experience in some cases.