One in seven Americans will be immediately affected as cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) take effect today. The temporary benefits from the 2009 economic stimulus, which had increased food stamps by around $24 per person and gave an immediate boost to the economy, have come to an end.
The across-the-board cuts mean that a family of four receiving food stamps will receive $36 less per month. The average benefit per person in 2012 was only $133 per month, so this is a significant decrease for individuals and families struggling to make ends meet.
“People are living at the margins,” Ellen Vollinger, legal director and SNAP advocate at the anti-hunger organization the Food Research and Action Center, told Reuters. “It’s not an abstract metric for people. It’s actual dollars to keep food in the refrigerator.”
Despite the importance of SNAP for keeping 47 million Americans out of poverty - especially children, the disabled, and the elderly – Republicans in the House of Representatives are pushing for more cuts. The House recently voted to cut $4 billion annually from SNAP for the next ten years, which would total a $40 billion loss for the program.
Media Resources: Feminist Newswire 9/10/13, 9/20/13, 10/17/13, 10/25/13; Reuters 10/30/13