September 15, 2022

Two surveys released this month have found strong public support for enhanced Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) funding. They come as the White House is readying a plan to end hunger for release at the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health on Wednesday, September 28, and as members of Congress are identifying priorities for the 2023 Farm Bill.

In August 2022, the Purdue University Center for Food Demand Analysis and Sustainability asked a panel of more than 1,200 adults across the U.S. for their opinion on a policy to “[p]ermanently extend and expand pandemic-related changes to SNAP that increase benefits and lower barriers to participation.” Eighty-two percent of liberals, 69 percent of moderates, and nearly one in every two conservatives (48 percent) favored the SNAP expansion policies.

That same month, the University of Illinois Gardner Food and Agricultural Policy Survey found that 77.3 percent of its 1,000-person consumer panel agreed that “government assistance for food programs (for example SNAP or the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children)” should increase due to rising costs of food.

Key findings from the Purdue survey included:

  • Based on analysis of responses to six select questions, the rate of food insecurity was 16 percent.
  • Food cost was the leading budgetary stressor for consumers.
  • The 2022 summer heatwave increased utility bills by 23 percent in many households.

Policy Implications

During the COVID-19 pandemic, SNAP benefits and eligibility have been expanded temporarily. Once the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Public Health Emergency Declaration expires, however, SNAP Emergency Allotments will end, time limits on certain unemployed and underemployed adults will return, and college students SNAP eligibility will revert to more restrictive rules. When that “hunger cliff” hits, on average, most SNAP participants are expected to lose $82 a month in SNAP benefits.

There is growing support in Congress to pass permanent improvements to SNAP. In the House, the bill (H.R. 4077/S. 2192) to increase SNAP allotments and extend SNAP to Puerto Rico, American Samoa, and the Northern Mariana Islands (H.R. 4077/S. 2192), has 110 cosponsors; the bill (H.R. 1753) to end SNAP time limits has 75 cosponsors; and the bill (H.R. 1919) to improve SNAP access for college students has 107 cosponsors.

Take Action

Join FRAC in sharing these new survey findings on public support for SNAP with members of Congress and on social media. Urge members of Congress to sponsor and pass bills that would strengthen SNAP benefit adequacy and improve equitable access.