Tags: SNAP | food stamps | cutbacks | Congress

US Food Stamp Cutbacks Lie Ahead

By John Morgan   |   Friday, 25 Oct 2013 08:06 AM

America's food stamp program, which serves more than 48 million people, is being cut Nov. 1 because the clock is running out on a recession-era increase in benefits.

The reduction, unfortunately slated to hit before the holidays, could be the start of deeper cutbacks in the program that was meant to feed poor families, NBC News noted.

The initial cut would amount to $36 per month for a family of four, but Stacy Dean, vice president for food assistance policy at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, said even that amount is a lot for a family struggling with low wages.

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"For those of us who spend $1.70 a day on a latte this doesn't seem like a big change, but it does kind of really highlight that millions of families are living on an extremely modest food budget," she explained.

The average monthly food stamp benefit under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is $275 per month now.

Parker Wilde, associate professor at the Friedman School of Nutrition at Tufts University, said further Congressional action could mean some recipients will be eliminated from SNAP altogether.

"We have a very spare cash-based safety net and we rely a lot on food stamps to give people the resources they need to avoid hunger," he told NBC News.

The $36 monthly reduction could buy the average family about four chickens per month. Put another way, Eric Cooper, chief executive of the San Antonio, TX Food Bank, estimated the SNAP cutback is enough to eliminate up to a week's worth of meals per month for a typical family.

CNSNews.com reported there are more Americans on food stamps than there are people in Spain, and the number of food stamp households adds up to more than the total households in the Northeast United States.

The SNAP cutback proposals in Congress are widely different — a House version would eliminate $4 billion annually from the program, while the Senate version would cut only $400 million, according to the Los Angeles Times.

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