Changes in SNAP Benefit Amounts effective October 1st - Resources for your constituents

Starting October 1, SNAP households will see an increase in their monthly benefits due to USDA’s revision of the Thrifty Food Plan (TFP), and at the same time, the 15% SNAP boost will expire. USDA has also updated some of the income deductions in the SNAP math through a "cost of living adjustment" (COLA), also effective Oct 1st.  


This email and resources are to help you calculate the new SNAP benefits and to hopefully explain the SNAP changes to your constituents.  DTA is also sending notices and text messages in 6 languages to SNAP households about this change. We will discuss this further at the September 28thSNAP Coalition - starting at 10 AM. Zoom link here. 


USDA FAQ on Thrifty Food Plan and October 1st SNAP Benefit amounts

How will this work?

It’s a bit confusing, but here are all the moving parts:

  • MA SNAP households typically get their “regular” SNAP between the 1st and 14th of the month (depending on last digit of their SSN).    
  • The extra COVD SNAP, called “Emergency Allotments” – and the 15% boost that was in place January to September – are both issued on the 2nd  business day of the month. 
  • Regular SNAP benefits starting in October will include the updated Thrifty Food Plan SNAP amounts recently announced by USDA. 
  • On Oct. 4th, all SNAP households will get their last 15% boost payment and also a COVID  “Emergency Allotment” payment of at least $95.  Around Nov 2nd,  SNAP households will just get the Emergency Allotment (at least $95) as a “second” monthly payment. 


EXAMPLE:  For September 2021, Jane Doe was eligible for $234 in SNAP. She got her “regular” SNAP of $90/month - based on her earnings and deductions - on Sept. 14 (her regular SNAP issuance date).  Jane will get $144 on October 4th. This SNAP payment (on the 2nd business day of the month) includes both the "Emergency Allotment" and the last 15% boost payment. Starting with October SNAP, Jane's "regular" monthly SNAP will increase to $152/mo under the boosted SNAP benefits from the Thrifty Food Plan adjustment. Jane will get $98 on Nov 2nd as her “Emergency Allotment” for October. Her total SNAP for the month of October 2020 is $250, paid in two lumps. 


Resources you can use: 

  • MLRI’s one-page SNAP math worksheet with the new USDA maximum SNAP allotments, as well as the increases in the SNAP standard deduction, shelter deduction and SUA amount. Attached is the SNAP worksheet, as well as a highlighted Word version showing the changed amounts. (We will release MLRI’s updated online SNAP calculator on 10/1/21.) 
  • A 1-page client flier created by one of our state advocate partners, Bridget Owens.
  • USDA’s 2 pager explaining the Thrifty Food Plan changes, available HERE.
  • USDA’s “COLA” memo that includes the figures for the SNAP maximum allotments, standard deduction, homeless deduction and shelter deduction effective 10/1st.


Deductions, deductions, deductions!  

We want to remind the Coalition that this fall is a critical time to do SNAP math “checkups” to ensure all SNAP households robustly claim deductions – especially medical expenses and child care costs!  Claiming deductions is important because 

1)      it can increase total monthly SNAP for households close to or at the maximum grant (because of Emergency Allotments) and


2)      when the Emergency Allotments end, maximizing regular SNAP will help reduce the cliff for families.