(Bloomberg) — The Biden administration will give the biggest long-term increase in food stamp benefits in the program’s history, giving Americans more money to buy groceries and adding billions of dollars in costs to the government, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said in a call Monday.
Average benefits in October will go up by more than 25% from pre-pandemic levels for the 42 million people in the program, a U.S. official said, speaking on condition of anonymity before Monday’s announcement.
The increase means that average monthly benefits will rise $36 per person from $121, according to the official. The New York Times reported the planned change earlier. The increase also means an approximate $20 billion cost increase per year for the program, Vilsack said.
“I think the pandemic sort of shocked people out of the belief that this is a program that was for some others, somebody else, I would never