Food stamp benefits to increase by largest amount in history starting October 1

Virginia News

FILE – In this Jan. 12, 2015 file photo, a supermarket displays stickers indicating they accept food stamps in West New York, N.J. The Biden administration has approved a significant and permanent increase in the levels of food stamp assistance available to needy families—the largest single increase in the program’s history. Starting in October 2021, average benefits for food stamps (officially known as the SNAP program) will rise more than 25 percent above pre-pandemic levels. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)

RICHMOND, Va. (WAVY/AP) — Starting October 1, the average benefits for food stamps — officially known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) — will increase for recipients across the Commonwealth.

The permanent increase in benefits is the largest single increase in the program’s history. The average benefits for food stamps will rise more than 25% above pre-pandemic levels.

“No one in Virginia should ever go hungry. This long-overdue change to the Thrifty Food Plan means that over 760,000 Virginians can better afford nutritious meals, said VDSS Commissioner S. Duke Storen. “Food insecurity has spiked to frightening levels during the pandemic, and every opportunity to provide meals and more financial resources to low-income families must be taken. USDA has done their part by increasing SNAP benefits, and now we must all work together to make sure every eligible household participates in SNAP and that we implement all the strategies in the Commonwealth’s Roadmap to End Hunger.” 

The increase follows a recent update to the Thrifty Food Plan methodology by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). This is the first increase since 1975.

Starting October 1, the new income limits are:

Previously, officials released emergency allotments of benefits to eligible families. The benefits were automatically be loaded to recipients’ Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) cards.

Those with questions should contact their local department of social services or visit CommonHelp at to access account information. For additional information regarding SNAP, how to apply, and other assistance programs, visit 

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