SNAP an effective economic stimulus program

As a result of the economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, one in five U.S. households lacks adequate food. Congress temporarily expanded benefits under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) in March, but Sara Bleich, professor of public health policy at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, says that the benefits are not enough to meet the food needs of a typical family.

Momentum in Congress around providing food aid during the pandemic has slowed, Bleich told NPR’s Planet Money on July 15, 2020. “But what has persisted is families not being able to eat and families not being able to pay rent,” she said. “None of those pains have gone away.”

SNAP is an effective economic stimulus, according to Bleich. “If you put money in the hands of people who are low-income, it quickly goes back out into the economy,” she said. “So it has a huge multiplier effect across the entire food system.”

Listen to the Planet Money Program or read a transcript: When SNAP gets squeezed

Learn more

Nearly four in 10 Black, Hispanic families facing food insecurity during pandemic (Harvard Chan School news)

Press conference with Sara Bleich (Harvard Chan School news)