Temporary programs made up 17 percent of Federal food and nutrition assistance spending in FY 2021

Temporary programs made up 17 percent of Federal food and nutrition assistance spending in FY 2021

Total spending on USDA’s food and nutrition assistance programs reached $182.5 billion in fiscal year (FY) 2021. The distribution of this spending across programs reflects the Federal response to the ongoing Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, which included expansions of existing programs as well as the continued operation of two temporary programs—Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) and the Farmers to Families Food Box Program (which ended in May 2021). Together, these temporary programs accounted for 17.2 percent of nutrition assistance spending in FY 2021. Spending on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) accounted for 62.4 percent of total spending in the same year. A temporary benefit increase, the expansion of emergency allotments, and higher participation contributed to the record-high Federal SNAP spending of $113.8 billion. Combined spending on the four largest child nutrition programs accounted for 15.6 percent of total spending in FY 2021. The Summer Food Service Program, which schools used to provide free meals in FY 2021, including during unanticipated closures, made up the largest share of this spending. The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) accounted for 2.7 percent of total spending. This chart is based on data available as of April 2022 that is subject to revision and a chart in the USDA, Economic Research Service’s Food and Nutrition Assistance Landscape: Fiscal Year 2021 Annual Report, released June 22, 2022.


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