The cost of the federal food stamps program, known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, increased to a record $119.5 billion in 2022, according to data released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
SNAP costs have increased from $60.3 billion in 2019, the last year before the pandemic, to the record-setting $119.5 billion in 2022. The number of participants had increased from 35.7 million in 2019 to 41.2 million in 2022.
The increased costs can be partly attributed to a higher monthly benefit during the pandemic. States offered additional money throughout the pandemic. In 2019, the average monthly per-person benefit was $129.83 in 2019, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. That increased by 78% to $230.88 in 2022.
The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities reported the 2018 farm bill also increased the maximum SNAP benefits by 21 percent, effective October 2021. That increase was to “accurately reflect the cost of a healthy diet,” the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities stated.