Nutrition Programs Get a Federal Boost via ARPA Funding

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Received over $1 Billion infusion of federal funds, run through state governments, as part of the recently passed American Rescue Plan Act.

From the NACo blog:

During the week of April 26, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced the release of two tranches of funding authorized under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA): $1.135 billion to bolster state administration of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and a $490 million increase to the Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC). These supplemental funds not only aim to provide resources to vulnerable individuals and families affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, but to also aid state and local governments as they administer vital services to our nation’s most vulnerable populations.

SNAP is a federal entitlement program that offers nutrition assistance to millions of low-income individuals and families. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, SNAP has been vital program to helping struggling families keep food on the table while also effectively and efficiently stimulating the economy. Ten states, which represent 32 percent of total program participants, delegate the administration of SNAP to counties, who often contribute local dollars to the program’s 50 percent non-federal administrative match. The additional $1.135 billion for states, an amount commensurate with a 100 percent federal administrative match, will allow state and local governments to invest in technology to increase access to SNAP, expand opportunities to better reach vulnerable populations and improve reporting on program outcomes to enable data-driven decision making.

The USDA also released $490 million to bolster WIC, a program that provides food assistance, nutrition education and service referrals to nutritionally-at-risk, low-income pregnant/post-partum women, infants and children. Although WIC is primarily administered by the federal and state governments, it operates through 1,900 local agencies at 10,000 clinic sites, many of which are county health departments. The emergency funds offer states, tribal nations and territories the option of boosting the cash-value voucher benefit from $9 per child and $11 per pregnant, postpartum or breastfeeding women up to $35 per child and adult for up to four months. This increase in monthly benefits will help ensure that food insecure families and individuals have the ability to purchase nutritious meals while stimulating local economies.

As county residents continue to grapple with the economic impacts of the pandemic, federal nutrition programs have played a key role in helping families across the country. NACo continues to work with our federal partners to ensure counties and our residents have the necessary resources and flexibility during the COVID-19 national public health emergency and beyond.

 

 

Michael Sanderson

Executive Director Maryland Association of Counties
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