The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is available in every state and territory of the United States, and it’s intended to put money on every American family’s table. Not just regular food, but nutritious and nourishing food. Even though it’s a federal run program, it does not pay the same amounts in all the states.
One question that often arises is why the SNAP program -formerly known as food stamps– pays more money to residents of Hawaii compared to those in the 48 contiguous states and DC. The Aloha State stands out for its significantly higher SNAP benefits compared to the rest of the United States. This disparity can be attributed to several key factors.
You Could Claim Higher SNAP Benefits in Hawaii
Hawaii consistently ranks as one of the most expensive places to live in the United States. The exorbitant cost of housing, groceries, and other essential goods and services in Hawaii necessitates higher SNAP benefits to ensure that recipients can afford an adequate diet. The state’s isolation makes it more reliant on imported goods, resulting in inflated prices. This, in turn, contributes to the need for increased SNAP benefits to combat the higher cost of living.
Unlike many states on the mainland, Hawaii has limited capacity for agricultural production due to its small landmass. Consequently, the state relies heavily on imports for its food supply, further driving up prices. Despite its picturesque landscapes and thriving tourism industry, Hawaii grapples with high poverty rates, especially among its native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander populations. Higher SNAP benefits are needed to support those in need.
SNAP Benefits Are Set to Increase: The Maximum Allotment in Hawaii from October 1, 2023
SNAP benefits payments are higher in Hawaii, as we said before, but how much higher? Well, to give you an idea, in the 48 contiguous states and DC, a family of 4 will receive from October 1, 2023, and until September 30, 2024, payments on their EBT card of $973. The same family in Hawaii will get $1,759 every month.
This is the list of SNAP allotments to be paid to Hawaiian qualifying families, from October 1, 2023, regarding the household’s size:
- 1 person: $527
- 2 people: $967
- 3 people: $1,385
- 4 people: $1,759
- 5 people: $2,088
- 6 people: $2,506
- 7 people: $2,770
- 8 people: $3,166
- Each additional member: $396
The minimum SNAP allotments, for the same time period, is set to be $42 in Hawaii, while in the 48 contiguous states and DC will be $23. In Guam, it will be $34, in the US Virgin Islands 30, and in Alaska there will be three different minimums: $30 (Urban), $38 (Rural 1), and $46 (Rural 2).
New SNAP Work Requirements Now in Effect
Starting from September 1, 2023, new work requirements took place for food stamps beneficiaries. Prior to September 1st, individuals classified as “able-bodied adults without dependents” (ABAWDs) between the ages of 18 and 49 were required to demonstrate that they either worked at least 80 hours per month or were actively enrolled in a training program in order to qualify for SNAP benefits. However, there has been a change in the age criteria for those affected by the ABAWD time limit, which has now been extended to individuals who are 50 years old.
As outlined by the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service, the Federal Register Announcement (FRA) incrementally raises the age threshold for individuals subject to the ABAWD time limit. Additionally, the FRA provides guidance regarding the definition of exempt populations and introduces modifications to the requirements for public information disclosure and SNAP’s stated purpose.
In addition to the change to age 50, the following increases are approaching:
- On October 1, 2023, the age limit will increase to 52.
- On October 1, 2024, the age limit is set to increase to 54.
- These new requirements will be effective until October 1, 2030.