BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - A new cost of living adjustment from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) means Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits will go up slightly, effective Thursday, Oct. 1.
The adjustment will mean an increase in benefits for most Louisiana families, and may allow some who were not previously eligible to begin receiving benefits.
Participants will be able to use their benefits for hot and prepared foods from authorized retailers in October. Restaurant purchases are not allowed.
The Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) also announced that October’s benefits will be issued early (on Oct. 1) for all current recipients instead of staggering them through Oct. 14. This change is due to the continued effects of Hurricane Laura.
The information below was provided by DCFS:
Each year, USDA adjusts the SNAP monthly allotments based on certain food costs included in the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' Consumer Price Index (CPI).
Increases in SNAP’s maximum monthly food allotments for FFY 2020-2021 vary depending on the number of people in the household. For example, the maximum allotment for a family of one is increasing from $194 to $204 per month, while a family of four will see their benefits increase by $34 per month, from $646 to $680.
The minimum monthly allotment remains $16.
These changes will primarily impact those with no income who receive the maximum benefit amount.
Income Limits and Deductions
SNAP’s income eligibility standards and allowable deductions, which are based on the federal poverty level and adjusted annually based on overall inflation, are increasing. However, standard utility allowances, which are based on the average cost to heat and cool a home, remained the same. The standard telephone allowance increased slightly.
Effective April 1, 2020, households in which all members are homeless and have a qualifying shelter expense were eligible to receive a $156.74 shelter deduction. The maximum homeless shelter deduction had been $147.55.
The gross and net monthly income limits for households also are increasing. For example, a single-person household will now have a gross monthly income limit of $1,383 (up $29) and a net monthly income limit of $1,064 (up $23), while a family of four will be limited to gross monthly income of $2,839 (up $49) and net monthly income of $2,184 (up $38).
The resources limit for eligible households including at least one person who is age 60 or older, or is disabled, will remain unchanged at $3,500. The limit for all other eligible households will remain unchanged at $2,250.
The monthly standard deduction is increasing by $3 per month, and the shelter cap value will increase by $17 to $586. As a result of these increases, some SNAP clients who are not currently receiving the monthly maximum or minimum allotment may see an increase in their monthly benefits beginning October 1.
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