by Marilyn Watkins
Starting Oct. 1, households that rely on SNAP, also known as food stamps, will see a welcome increase in their grocery budget of about $36 per person per month. Currently, the maximum monthly benefit for a family of four is just $680 per month. About 950,000 people in Washington — 1 out of every 8 residents — receive SNAP to cover their basic food expenses.
Unfortunately, SNAP benefits haven’t kept pace with actual food costs for a long time. We’ve seen growing food insecurity for several years as housing prices, health care, and other basic expenses also continue to rise much faster than family incomes, forcing people to make tough choices about how to pay all the bills. The pandemic and economic disruptions of the past 18 months have only exacerbated the problem and deepened racial and gender income disparities. Despite rosy reports of a growing economy and rebounding jobs this summer, 18% of Black Washington households and 11% of Latino households reported not having enough food to eat the last week of July – compared to just 4% of White households. Altogether, 35% of Washington SNAP recipients reported not having enough food.Continue reading OPINION: SNAP Increase Is Overdue, Welcome News for Strapped Family Budgets