Federal Policy Priorities

Improving Benefit Adequacy and Increasing Program Access

(H.R. 4077/S. 2192)

Closing The Meal Gap Act Of 2021


What this Bill Does

  1. Increases the minimum Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefit and requires benefits to be calculated using the value of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)’s Low-Cost Food Plan.

Why this Matters

  • While SNAP received a historic update in October 2021 due to a reevaluation of the Thrifty Food Plan, which is used to calculate SNAP allotments, benefit amounts remain inadequate for low-income individuals.

  • According to the Congressional Budget Office, the average SNAP monthly benefit per participant is expected to fall from $238.05 in FY22 to $197.78 in FY23, and despite projected inflation, not get back to the FY22 level until FY31.

What this bill does

2. Modifies the SNAP calculation requirements by authorizing a standard medical expense deduction for households with an elderly or disabled member and eliminating the cap on the excess shelter expense deduction.

Why this Matters

  • Simplifying the standard medical expense deduction process for elderly and disabled individuals will allow them to maximize their monthly benefit amounts.

  • Eliminating the artificial cap on the excess shelter expense deduction particularly benefits those who live in areas with high living costs, such as Massachusetts.