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This fall, individuals and families in Columbia County, Oregon and the country who depend on food stamp assistance will see what the Biden administration calls a significant and permanent increase in benefits.

This would be the largest increase in the history of the food stamp system, which now operates as the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP).

This change will increase the SNAP benefits distributed in Oregon by $ 337 million. For SNAP households, this change will on average be about $ 36 more to purchase food per person.

Oregon Department of Human Services (ODHS) press secretary Jake Sunderland said the Biden administration made the announcement on Monday, August 16, and his department is still reviewing the changes and what they would mean for SNAP in Oregon.

“According to the federal government, this change will increase SNAP benefits distributed in Oregon by $ 337 million,” Sunderland said. “For SNAP households, this change will on average be about $ 36 more to buy food per person – or about $ 1.20 per day.”

The change in benefits comes into effect on October 1.

Currently, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, most SNAP households are temporarily receiving the maximum benefit amount for their household size, according to Sunderland.

“This is called emergency allocations and we have been providing these emergency allocations since March 2020,” he said.

SNAP benefit amounts vary depending on household size, income and other factors. SNAP benefits range from $ 0 per month (while receiving other services such as employment and training services) to the maximum benefit amount for household size.

Sunderland said COVID-19 has had an incredible impact on Oregon’s economy and on hunger and food insecurity in Oregon, citing a December 2020 OSU study that estimates rates of hunger and food insecurity more than doubled in 2020 and there are an estimated 1 million Oregonians suffering from hunger and food insecurity.

From January 2020 to January 2021, the number of people receiving SNAP in Columbia County increased by more than 1,500 people, a 21% increase.

The current and new maximum amounts are in the attached table.

Benefit allocation table

Households with incomes of 185% of the federal poverty line or below are eligible for SNAP benefits.

“This means that a family of 4 earning $ 49,000 per year is eligible for the SNAP program,” Sunderland said. “It’s surprising to a lot of people. You can have one parent making $ 23 an hour, while the other stays home with their two kids to save on child care, and still struggles with hunger and food insecurity. “

SNAP provides nutritional assistance benefits to children and families, the elderly, the disabled, the unemployed and working families.

SNAP helps supplement the monthly food budgets of low-income families to purchase the food they need to stay healthy and allow them to spend more of their disposable income on essential living expenses.

ODHS staff determine candidate eligibility based on guidelines established by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). The main objectives of the program are to reduce hunger and malnutrition and to improve the nutrition and health of eligible households.

If you need help, here are some important resources:

  • You can request food, cash, and medical help online at:
  • Learn about government programs and community resources for seniors and people with disabilities: Aging and Disability Resource Connection of Oregon at 1-855-673-2372 or
  • Dial 2-1-1 or text your postal code to 898-211, For help with resources in your community

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