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Does SNAP Cover the Cost of a Meal in Your County?

Jul 17, 2023 | FBST, Foodbank Blog

Amid inflation, SNAP benefits did not cover the cost of a meal in 99 percent of counties in 2022. Adjustments to SNAP narrowed—but didn’t close—that gap.

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP (formerly known as the Food Stamp program), helps more than 42 million Americans buy healthy food for themselves and their families each year. But the maximum benefit doesn’t always cover the cost of a modestly priced meal, and many families receiving SNAP benefits are still facing food insecurity as a result. The Urban Institute recently put together an interactive map that compares the maximum SNAP benefit per meal with the county-level average cost of a modestly priced meal in 2022. The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) adjusts SNAP benefits every fiscal year to respond to inflation’s impacts on food prices. The map looks at SNAP benefits over two periods: (1) January to September 30, 2022, when the maximum benefit reflected the fiscal year 2022 cost-of-living adjustment, and (2) October 1 to December 31, 2022, when the fiscal year 2023 cost-of-living adjustment took effect. We listed the data for the counties that are served by the Food Bank of the Southern Tier, however, you can explore data for your county, or filter by rural-urban continuum codes to see patterns by metropolitan and nonmetropolitan areas.

Charts showing the difference between SNAP benefits and the cost of a meal broken down by county in the area covered by the Food Bank of the Southern Tier.

The Food Bank of the Southern Tier has Outreach Coordinators that can help you with information and applying for SNAP benefits. To get in touch with one, you can get their contact information on our SNAP page or complete this form.

You can read the original story with key findings, resources, and how the Urban Institute came up with the figures on the Urban Institute’s website.