Healthy snack plate

Healthy snack plate with fruit, vegetables and nuts.

Nearly 500,000 Coloradans who rely on federal nutrition aid are in for a boost next month when the monthly Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits they receive are set to increase.

The increase stems from a reevaluation of the Thrifty Food Plan, the least expensive of the four food plans developed by the federal Department of Agriculture and the one used to determine SNAP allotments.

The reevaluation, called for as part of the Farm Bill that cleared Congress in 2018, boosts benefits by 21%. On average, the state Department of Human Services estimates benefits are set to go up $36.24 per person per month, equivalent to $1.19 per day. Maximum benefits are also set to rise to $835 a month for a family of four.

“This increase will help ensure low-income families have access to a healthy diet, which helps prevent disease, reduces health care costs and supports children in the classroom, among other benefits,” said Colorado SNAP manager Teri Chasten in a statement. “The additional money families will have to spend on food will also help Colorado’s economy, especially in the agriculture industry.”

The updates to the food plan mark the first changes since 2006. The updated plan includes more fish and red and orange vegetables to align with recommendations stemming from the USDA’s Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2020-2025. It also ups caloric intake “to reflect the latest data and support an active lifestyle.”

DHS also indicated in a release the benefit boost stemming from the updated plan also marks “the first time the purchasing power of the plan has changed since it was first introduced in 1975.”

Those who currently receive SNAP benefits don’t need to do anything to receive the increase – it will be distributed as part of the release of October benefit payments. Those experiencing hunger or struggling to buy food who are not currently utilizing SNAP can find more information about Colorado’s program here.

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