FORT COLLINS, Colo. -- The thousands of Coloradans that rely on federal aid will soon see an increase to their food stamps after a reevaluation of the Thrifty Food Plan, used to calculate SNAP benefits, by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Pamela Meza has a knack for stretching her money.
“I buy meat with a lot of vegetables so I can be able to make things and then be able to have leftovers for the freezer,” Meza said.
But her income, combined with food stamps still only goes so far.
“With $100 a month, I think I can get maybe, three weeks of meals out of that,” Meza said. “And then the other week it’s like, ‘What are you going to do?’”
“Jobs aren’t paying enough to be able to keep up with the cost of living,” said Billy Lindsey, who is reapplying for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
“Last time I had food stamps, I lost them because I was making too much,” Lindsey said. “They help out a lot.”
An estimated 250,000 Colorado households are dependent on food stamps, according to SNAP data from the Office of Economic Security.
The 21% increase is a first in the program’s history and is equivalent to an average of about $36 more a month, or in practical terms, the average monthly per-person benefits will rise from $121 to $157.
“Which I think with a lot of low-income people, or homeless people – that’s still not enough,” Meza said. “I think it would be beneficial if I were getting more like $200 a month.”
“It is about time they started giving people more,” Lindsey said. “There’s way too much money being wasted on pointless things. It’s about time they start giving something to the community that actually helps.”
There have been minor inflation increases in the past, but this plan overhaul is new, based on critical calculations by the state, including an increase in applicants since June that surpassed applications all of 2020.
For Meza, it’s a drop in the bucket, but at least it’s something.
“With the cost of living, I really have a hard time,” Meza said.
SNAP benefits are increasing this Friday, October 1.