Pandemic food assistance extended for up to 25 million Americans

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(WASHINGTON) — Americans hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic will see relief when it comes to putting food on the table and fighting food insecurity.

The federal food assistance policy from President Joe Biden’s American Rescue Plan will help as many as 25 million Americans who “may not always have access to nutritious food,” the administration reported.

The plan will provide families with access to the Pandemic EBT program so they can “purchase healthy food more easily during the pandemic,” according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s American Rescue Plan website. The program will be available for the “duration of the health emergency”, including during the summer.

Last March at the onset of the pandemic, Congress first approved emergency benefits through Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), sometimes referred to as food stamps, for low-income households to receive monthly benefits.

The American Rescue Plan will extend the 15% increase in SNAP benefits for all participants through Sept. 30 — about $28 per month per person. The policy will also make “investments in technological improvements to expand access for families to use their SNAP benefits to purchase groceries safely online.”

The plan also includes $880 million to help parents get more access to fruits and vegetables within the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), and $37 million will be added for senior nutrition through the Commodity Supplemental Food Program.

Another $1 billion will be added in nutrition assistance for U.S. territories, according to the USDA.

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