New Urban Institute research shows that, compared to not having the benefit expansions, the combination of the fall 2021 Thrifty Food Plan (TFP) update and the provision of temporary Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Emergency Allotments (EAs) reduced poverty in quarter four of 2021 by 14.1 percent and child poverty by 21.8 percent.
The findings underscore the importance of policy decisions on people’s lives. Much weaker impacts were estimated for states that had decided to stop issuing EAs by the fall of 2021. Unless Congress takes further action, all SNAP EAs will end when the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services COVID-19 Public Health Emergency Declaration expires.
The Community Eligibility Provision allows high-need schools to offer breakfast and lunch to all students at no cost. Two recent papers published by the National Bureau of Economic Research highlight the benefits of community eligibility for families with school-age children and entire communities. These are working papers, meaning they have not yet been peer-reviewed.
Together, these papers demonstrate the value of community eligibility to fight inflation, reduce expenses, and improve food security. As the cost of living continues to increase, expanding access to healthy school meals is a critical way to help families and communities struggling to make ends meet.
Since the onset of COVID-19, several temporary Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) changes have allowed enrolled households to receive more robust benefits and eased access for unemployed and underemployed adults and college students. The changes are tied to the duration of the federal COVID-19 Public Health Emergency Declaration (PHE). Recent research has confirmed strong public support around continuing these temporary SNAP improvements beyond the pandemic, and stakeholder engagement is on the rise.