[ View the story "SNAP Program" on Storify] SNAP Program
AJAMStream· Fri, Sep 20 2013 13:10:39
In a 217-210 vote on Thursday, the House of Representatives approved $39 billion in cuts to the
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program
, or SNAP. The bill will now go to the Senate, where they have until September 30th to make a decision.
SNAP has been active in its current form since 1996. The first food stamp program was implemented in 1943. SNAP
assistance to over 47 million people, nearly 15 percent of the U.S. population. Critics
that the program, which costs nearly $80 billion each year, provides a strain on government finances, while advocates say it provides a necessary boost to the economy while helping those in need.
Since 1973, the food stamps program has been tied to the Farm Bill, the government's leading agricultural and food policy legislation. Critics of the program accuse supporters of using the Farm Bill to get a food stamps program passed. However, in June, the House of Representatives
the first farm bill not tied to food stamps.
This video demonstrates the scope of the Farm Bill. Recipients say that cuts will make it more difficult to make ends meet.
Monthly average costs of those on food stamps differ between states. Iowa, Illinois, Maine, Michigan, Missouri, Oregon, Tennessee, Washington and West Virginia
the highest rates of enrollment.
Some who wish to maintain the program use a statistical argument, saying that SNAP tends to
the countrywide poverty and unemployment levels. However, critics
that justifying the program as an economic stimulus is misguided, and that increased numbers of participants indicate dependence.
The Washington Post
Some argue that the rising cost of the program outweighs the benefits.
SNAP also serves the very poor. The program
4.7 million people above the poverty line in 2011, including 2.1 million children, more children than any other government assistance program.
for attacking the food stamp program without experiencing its impact. In response, Newark Mayor Corey Booker took the ‘SNAP Challenge,’ and spent a week purchasing food using only food stamps.
Cory Booker lives on Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) for a weekpolitic365video
Some farmer's markets offer informational videos detailing how to use food stamps to purchase groceries.
SNAP EBT Benefits Program at the Hilo Farmers MarketSteven Parente
Many organizations help those who need food stamps with their applications.
CAFB's SNAP Outreach Programcapitalareafoodbank
Many weighed in online, sharing opinions on social media platforms and contributing their thoughts on a
discussing the challenges to accessing healthy food.
@AJAMStream #foodstamps Stocks might have recovered but for working people there's been no recovery. Lots of low wage jobs=need for #SNAPChris G
@AJAMStream Until the poor are not villainized as lazy, unworthy, and living the high-life on 4.80 or less a day, no changes will come.Sandy McVearry
Many attacked those who wish to minimize the program.
Food stamp critics seem to overlook the economic sense of such programs. Food stamps have a high multiplier effect and provide a good short-term jolt to the economy.racialicious.com
It's funny how there's always enough money to bomb some country somewhere, but some folks want to begrudge poor people a 99 cent bottle of Coca Cola! The logic behind that kind of thinking escapes me.racialicious.com
Others pointed out that abuse exists in the current program.
From someone who's previous job was doling out food stamps to the masses, I can tell you that the program is horribly broken. Only about 30% of my cases legitimately needed food stamps. The other 70% were lying about one thing or another to get something for free. Even though I had proof, I couldn't do anything but refer those cases to the one woefully overwhelmed fraud investigator who covered NINE counties. I would give examples of the lies people tell to get food stamps (they're really very simple) but I don't want to create new food stamp fraud. It's amazing the kind of luxuries (or drugs/alcohol) people can buy when they don't need to buy food. Don't overestimate the integrity of your neighbors.Jessica Samplatsky Inglis
@AJAMStream like everything else in life there will be those who abuse it. But for some in need, it is their only chance at a meal.Lori Loftness
Some suggested possible solutions to the problem.
Cut some funding and qualify all applicants. Make sure they are seeking employment. Same with welfare. Common sense right?Michael Labus
The real issue is that conservatives insist on protecting tax welfare entitlements to the rich and corporations. Fossil fuel industry gets $4 billion annually, how about we cut that? And why are corporations allowed to deduct 100% of salaries but only pay social security on $113,100? Why not limit that? I suggest we do just that, http://petitions.moveon.org/sign/true-entitlement-reform-1Li Longo
@AJAMStream #foodstamps Almost 50% of #snap recipients work. Majority of new jobs are low wage. Either #raisethewage or increase #SNAPShem Shemmingan
@AJAMStream food stamps & other social benefits need to be changed to a graduated system. As you earn more, benefits go down proportionallyProsser
Some shared personal stories.
@AJAMStream My mother is 72 and gets $25 in food stamps. What work can she do? She is disabled. Critics need to meet the people.Wendy Chiles
What I'm trying to say is that being on food stamps is also a deeply psychological experience. Later, speaking with a counselor, I learned that those experiences as a child have had a deep effect on my adulthood and the way I interact with the world, especially with my mother, people who came from more money than I did, and how I placed value on things (the more unattainable the better it must be, right?). So while the system in place isn't as compassionate as it could be, adding restrictions, or telling someone how they can and cannot eat, is only adding to the psychological aspect and I don't think they can see that upfront because it's not something they've gone through.racialicious.com