According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) increased SNAP benefits across the board as a way of delivering high “bang-for-the-buck” economic stimulus and easing hardship in response to the economic downturn. ARRA increased SNAP maximum monthly benefits by 13.6 percent beginning in April 2009.
ARRA provided that SNAP benefit levels would continue at the new higher amount until the program’s regular annual inflation adjustments to the maximum SNAP benefit exceeded those set by ARRA. The maximum SNAP benefit levels for each household size, which are set each October 1, are equal to the cost of the Thrifty Food Plan (TFP) from the preceding June scaled to each household size. The TFP is the cost of U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) food plan for a family of four to purchase and prepare a bare-bones diet at home. At the time ARRA was enacted, food price inflation was expected to be high and the TFP cost was expected to exceed the ARRA level in fiscal year 2014. Food price inflation, however, turned out to be lower than expected over the 2009 to 2013 period, resulting in the pushing out of the date that the TFP was expected to exceed the ARRA level.
Also, monthly NYC (not borough) and county SNAP actuals for households, persons and benefits are available from January 2002 forward in spreadsheet form on Open Data NY. The data are also broken out by Temporary Assistance (cases consisting entirely of cash assistance and/or Supplemental Security Assistance recipients) and non-TA.