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SNAP benefits slashed today without Congressional action

Food stamps are expected to be slashed today, leaving forty-eight million Americans with fewer benefits. The cuts were expected. In fact, they are simply a move back to the level Congress approved in a recession-era boost in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistant Program (SNAP). The cuts will leave the estimated 48 million recipients with a 13.6 percent less in benefits, which on average, will total approximately $36 a month less for a family of four or $420 less per year.

While many anti-poverty groups have stated they believe the cut should not be made claiming it is likely to leave many individuals with insufficient food supplies, others argue that the lax eligibility requirements and the promoting of food stamps by the recent administration has allowed the costs for the program to increase by more than 358% since 2000. Enrollment in the food-stamp benefits also rose during the 2007-2011 recession.

SNAP is considered the largest anti-hunger program in America, allowing many families who are living on the margins to feed their families. It is also beneficial for grocery stores and gas stations that enjoy the extra business.

What will Congress do about SNAP?

There have been negotiations on the hill over the SNAP program, but the two houses of Congress remain at odds about what should be done. For example, according to a recent CNN report, “Legislation passed by the GOP-controlled House would cut food stamps by an additional $4 billion annually and tighten eligibility requirements. The House bill would also end government waivers that have allowed able-bodied adults without dependents to receive food stamps indefinitely and allow states to put broad new work requirements in place.”

Republicans hoped that Democrats would be willing to work with them to find some common ground, but Republicans continue to see SNAP as necessary only for the neediest of individuals. Democrats, however, do not seem to see a problem with the skyrocketing costs- arguing children, seniors and veterans continue to need this level of support.

SNAP fraud found on Social Media sites

The Republicans efforts to curb the program may receive more support after an update by Fox News that some food stamp recipients were turning the government handouts into quick cash with ads on Craigslist. This move by some recipients to get quick cash for their food stamps is blatantly against the requirements of the program which does not allow the coupons to be transferred or bartered.

Until the USDA can curb such fraudulent practices it will be tough for Congress to get wide support for stopping the cuts to SNAP. Concerned citizens want the states to investigate fraud and to ensure us that there is zero tolerance for illegal actions related to government subsidies. Somehow the government and food stamp recipients seem to forget that when they steal from SNAP they are not stealing from the government, they are stealing for us- the people of the United States of America. And with one in every seven Americans on food stamps -- up a million since June of last year – it may eventually get hard for some of us to feed our own families.
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