Protect the integrity of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
Promote nutrition programs like SNAP which contribute to the local economy
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as Food Stamps, is the largest and most effective federal nutrition assistance program. SNAP is a means-tested entitlement program, meaning households with low incomes and low assets are deemed eligible for assured assistance from state governments. This current structure ensures there are no waiting lists for assistance. The fact that SNAP is an entitlement program is extremely helpful in times of economic crisis and natural disasters, such as the recent recession and in the aftermath of disasters like Hurricane Katrina.
Most SNAP recipients remain on the program for seven to eight months and the average benefit is around $4 per day, per person in Nevada. SNAP fluctuates in direct alignment with the economy. During times of national or economic downturns, SNAP will expand. Conversely, SNAP will contract and less people will be eligible for the program when the economy improves.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), year over year national enrollment is down by more than 2 million people. This is the lowest enrollment in SNAP in more than six years. While more than 2 million people have gone back to work post-recession, economists agree that the average median income of households has fallen due to low paying jobs and limited availability for fulltime positions. Many middleclass families and seniors lost their assets, savings and retirements in the recession as well. As a result, SNAP is continuing to support individuals and families to meet their nutritional needs. Congress must make two major decisions regarding SNAP in the months ahead:
Congress must pass a federal budget that supports SNAP administration and the authorization of payments to states for benefits without interruption. o If the federal government shuts down, it could interrupt the administration of benefits and prevent people from purchasing groceries with SNAP for their family during the shut-down. o Congress needs to pass a fair budget that includes the necessary funding for SNAP benefits and its administration at the state level. - Congress should consider a Farm Bill that strengthens rather than weakens the integrity of the program.
- Demoting SNAP from a federally administered program to a state program with level annual funding would harm those who need our help the most.
- This change would result in waiting lists that would disproportionately affect the most vulnerable populations. Children, seniors and disabled individuals account for more than 70 percent of current SNAP recipients.
- This change would prevent the program’s growth during temporary, but extreme economic conditions like we saw during the recession.
- This change would also prevent states from including SNAP in its disaster response programs. States would not be able to increase enrollment without permission from Congress as part of a disaster appropriations package. This could take weeks, meaning that many people would remain in emergency shelters for extended periods of time.
Three Square Food Bank, the Food Bank of Northern Nevada, Feeding America, the Food Research and Action Center, Share Our Strength, Bread for the World, the Center for Budget and Policies Priorities, and many other organizations have come together to oppose these dangerous proposals. Sign the petition to stand up for SNAP with Nevada’s food banks and our national partners!