Food Stamp program to be cut by November 1 for some SNAP familiesAlthough the 2009 Recovery Act had temporarily boosted the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, the benefits are set to end on November 1, 2013, resulting in a benefit cut for every SNAP household.
How will this affect families? Its estimated that on average, for a family of three, the cut could amount to $29 a month, a total of $319 for November 2013 through September 2014, the remaining months of fiscal year 2014. On average the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities estimates this will mean the total cut could result in a savings of $5 billion nationally in fiscal year 2014.
What does the White House say about the food stamp cuts?
Although President Obama and some members of Congress have suggested that legislation be introduced to eliminate the cuts, most members of Congress think this is unlikely. According to reports, the states need to get ready for the cuts and find a way to help clients understand that they will be receiving less money, and they will need to find new ways to get money for food.
Critics of the cuts note, however, that this may be the worst time for the cuts, arguing the holiday season is a critical time for many families and not a good time to have less money to buy food. SNAP enrollment has continued to soar, not only during the recession, but also through the recovery, which has been especially slow.
According to reports, an estimated 15% of the population or 47.6 million currently receive food stamps. That compares to 26.3 million, or 8.7% of the population, in 2007. Benefits vary by household, but on average, SNAP recipients earn an estimated $133.19 a month.
How is SNAP getting the word out to recipients?
The U.S. Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service have been notifying food stamp recipients that they could see a decline in benefits. Proponents of the cuts argue that as we move out of the recession its important to help people move off government assistance. Republicans have even passed a bill in the House to reduce $40 billion from the food stamp program in the next ten years.
Proponents also argue that the cuts should not be a surprise. Like other types of stimulus offered during the recession, SNAP increases were not supposed to be permanent and were nothing more than a temporary increase in spending to help those hardest hit by the recession.
Food stamps for sale?
Its interesting to note this story comes on the heels of another story reported two days ago that some food stamp recipients were turning the government handouts into quick cash with ads on Craigslist.
What does the government say? The U.S. Department of Agriculture has zero tolerance for food stamp fraud. We recently provided stronger tools to help State agenciesresponsible for pursuing recipient fraudcrack down on individuals attempting to sell benefits online. In addition, since 2011, we have worked with online marketplaces, including Craigslist, to better monitor and put a stop to the illegal sale of SNAP benefits. USDA encourages anyone that has information regarding potential recipient fraud to report this information to the USDA Office of the Inspector General or to their State agency.
Guess whos paying for this mess? You guessed it- you and me.