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Substantial Cuts to Nutrition Programs Coming In November

(Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

According to Cathy Brechelsbauer, South Dakota volunteer coordinator of Bread for the World, residents on SNAP(food stamps) will experience benefit cuts starting in November.

She sent out the media release below: 

“No one in Congress expected this would happen, but now every household that uses SNAP (food stamps) will experience a cut starting in November. No matter how young, how old, or how poor, and regardless of physical or mental illness or disability, — they all, in every state, will have less ability to buy food starting this November.

Important note:

A proposal coming soon in the US House would make even more drastic cuts to SNAP in addition to the cut scheduled for November.

 

 Background

In the 2009 Recovery Act (ARRA, the stimulus bill), Congress realized that food stamps are a boon to the economy and that food needs would be exacerbated by the recession. Thus, SNAP benefits were boosted for all participants. Now everyone who uses SNAP will experience a substantial cut as the boost expires.    

Direct impact

This national cut is estimated to total $5 billion in fiscal year 2014. Over a year, a family of four will have over $400 less for food. In households using SNAP, cuts like these represent a number of meals each month.

The Bigger Picture

Former director of Minnehaha County Human Services Hugh Grogan says, “It’s unthinkable to cut Food Stamps. SNAP is a bargain for the people of SD! It’s income to farmers, food processors and food distributors. It’s good for Main Street and for the state as a whole. Most critically, SNAP provides people the ability to put food on the table. The low-income families, children, elderly and disabled of our state need and deserve this help. Private charities do a wonderful job, but cutting SNAP $11 million in South Dakota, and worse yet – the cuts proposed in the House – will overwhelm private charities and leave many hungry in SD. It’s vital to the interest of our state to oppose these cuts.”

Hunger alert (related facts)

• In June 2011, researchers found that the 2009 benefit boost had reduced hunger in America.

• This year, nutrition experts at the Institute of Medicine and the National Research Council report that current SNAP allotments, which include the boost, are too low for an adequate diet.

• On September 4, the USDA released its annual food insecurity report showing continued significant levels of hardship, with 49 million Americans in households struggling against hunger (“food insecurity”) in 2012, including 16 million children.

• There is no plan afoot to replace the food lost in this upcoming SNAP cut. Neither minimum wage nor other benefits are scheduled to increase in order to offset this loss of food.

• Together, these facts forecast a food and nutrition emergency about to start in America.

Can this cut be stopped?

As the economic recovery reaches low-income Americans, the SNAP expenditure will go down on its own, because there will be fewer households will qualify for SNAP.

According to Brechelsbauer:

“Cutting food stamps makes more people hungry – even children and other vulnerable people. Is that what we want as a country? If Congress gets enough messages that cuts to food stamps are unacceptable, perhaps a new wave of hunger can be prevented.”

 

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