NewsCovering Louisiana


New cost-of-living adjustments cause increase in SNAP benefits

SNAP benefits
Posted at 12:06 PM, Oct 01, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-01 13:06:58-04

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) new cost-of-living adjustments for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) that go into effect today, October 1, will mean an increase in benefits for most Louisiana families, while allowing others who may not have been eligible to begin receiving assistance.

The Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) also is issuing October benefits early - on Oct. 1 for all current recipients, instead of staggered on the 1st through 14th - due to continuing effects of Hurricane Laura.

Benefits Increasing

Each year, USDA adjusts the SNAP monthly allotments based on certain food costs included in the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' Consumer Price Index (CPI).

Increases in SNAP's maximum monthly food allotments for FFY 2020-2021 vary depending on the number of people in the household. For example, the maximum allotment for a family of one is increasing from $194 to $204 per month, while a family of four will see their benefits increase by $34 per month, from $646 to $680.

The minimum monthly allotment remains $16.

These changes will primarily impact those with no income who receive the maximum benefit amount.

Income Limits and Deductions

SNAP's income eligibility standards and allowable deductions, which are based on the federal poverty level and adjusted annually based on overall inflation, are increasing. However, standard utility allowances, which are based on the average cost to heat and cool a home, remained the same. The standard telephone allowance increased slightly.

Effective April 1, 2020, households in which all members are homeless and have a qualifying shelter expense were eligible to receive a $156.74 shelter deduction. The maximum homeless shelter deduction had been $147.55.

The gross and net monthly income limits for households also are increasing. For example, a single-person household will now have a gross monthly income limit of $1,383 (up $29) and a net monthly income limit of $1,064 (up $23), while a family of four will be limited to gross monthly income of $2,839 (up $49) and net monthly income of $2,184 (up $38).

The resources limit for eligible households including at least one person who is age 60 or older, or is disabled, will remain unchanged at $3,500. The limit for all other eligible households will remain unchanged at $2,250.

The monthly standard deduction is increasing by $3 per month, and the shelter cap value will increase by $17 to $586. As a result of these increases, some SNAP clients who are not currently receiving the monthly maximum or minimum allotment may see an increase in their monthly benefits beginning October 1.

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