SNAP Users: 5 Things You Need to Know Now about Threats to Your Benefits

June 3, 2013

1. You’re not alone.

More than 50 million people in America live in food insecure households. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is the cornerstone of the federal nutrition safety-net. Nearly 48 million people rely on SNAP to help put food on the table and nearly half of all SNAP beneficiaries are kids.

Though the economy is improving, we have a long haul ahead of us as our nation works to rebuild and the recovery has been slow to benefit low-income Americans. The factors that drove the increase in the need for food assistance are still affecting people today. Unemployment remains stuck above 7 percent nationally.

2. SNAP benefits will decline for all participants on November 1.

Even if Congress makes no changes to SNAP funding in the farm bill under consideration this year, benefits will decline for all participants on November 1, 2013. When the ARRA benefit boost expires, benefits will fall on average by $20-25 for a family of three.

3. Drastic cuts to SNAP are currently under debate in the House and Senate Farm Bills.

If the Senate Farm Bill were enacted, about 400,000 households would see their benefits go down by an average $90 per month. The House Farm bill would decrease benefits by about $90 per month for 850,000 households and cause 2 million individuals to lose SNAP entirely. On top of that, 210,000 kids would lose free school meals, as their eligibility is tied to their families SNAP. Cuts on this scale are unacceptable.

4. Federal hunger relief programs (like SNAP) are a smart investment and the programs are working effectively.

Investing in hunger relief makes sense fiscally, is a cost-effective use of taxpayer dollars and is an investment in our nation’s future. Hunger increases health care costs, lowers worker productivity, harms children’s development and diminishes their educational performance – these are costs that we cannot afford.

When our economy recovers and more people go back to full-time work, the number of people enrolled in SNAP will decline and SNAP spending will decrease. Every SNAP dollar spent generates $1.79 for local economies.

5. Your voice matters. You can make the difference.

We now know the House Agriculture Farm Bill may go to the House floor the week of June 16. You can help reverse course and restore cuts to SNAP as the farm bill moves forward. Together, we can make solving hunger a priority for our nation’s leaders.

Call the Feeding America hotline at 886-527-1087 to be connected with your House Representative. Tell your representative that they must vote no when the farm bill goes to the House floor.

Are you eligible for SNAP benefits? Contact your local food bank for assistance.

Posted by Emily Basten on June 3, 2013 at 10:01 AM in Living with Hunger, National Initiatives
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Great read!

Posted by James T | June 3, 2013 at 11:20 AM

Wondering. My benefits have been cut as of July 2013 almost a third. Why has this happened and does it mean it will go down further Nov. 1st? If you can not answer my question, can you direct me to someone who can?

Posted by Laura Daughenbaugh | June 4, 2013 at 1:47 PM

Hi Laura, thanks for your comment. SNAP is run at the state level, so I can’t say for sure why your benefits went down. You may have seen a decrease in benefits if your income increased or if you had a change in your household size. It could also be that you were getting a prorated benefit to begin with.

Unfortunately, your benefits will again go down on November 1, when the ARRA benefit boost expires (an external source with more on that: http://www.cbpp.org/cms/?fa=view&id=3899). If you would like to let me know what state you are in, I will look for a local contact for you. Please just let me know!

Posted by Emily Basten | June 6, 2013 at 11:37 AM

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