Beginning this Friday (November 1, 2013), more than 47 million Americans, including 664,000 Mississippians, who rely on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as food stamps) to meet their basic nutritional needs, will experience a reduction in their food assistance benefits.
That is because a modest boost in benefits to SNAP recipients, included in the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) to strengthen the economy and ease hardship, is set to expire, resulting in a benefit cut for every participating SNAP household.
The cut in monthly benefits will make it more difficult for households to put food on the table in the coming months. For a family of three in Mississippi, that cut will mean a reduction of $29 each month. That adds up to $319 from November 2013 through September 2014, the remaining 11 months of the fiscal year. See Chart. This is a serious loss for families whose benefits, after this cut, will average less than $1.40 per person per meal.
In addition to helping to feed hungry families, SNAP is one of the fastest, most effective ways to stimulate a struggling economy. Every $1 increase in SNAP benefits generates about $1.70 in economic activity. People spend SNAP assistance quickly and locally supporting grocers and other economic activity. When SNAP benefits are cut, local small businesses are hurt as well.
SNAP is the nation’s most important anti-hunger program and is a powerful tool in helping to keep families out of poverty. Now is not the time to further reduce this already modest assistance to these struggling families who after Friday’s cuts will have even less ability to keep food on the table.
This week, MEPC will share information on how SNAP benefits children, working families, and businesses and the potential hardship this cut could pose on SNAP participants in Mississippi.
Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. (2013, August 1). SNAP Benefits Will Be Cut for All Participants in November 2013. Retrieved from http://www.cbpp.org/cms/index.cfm?fa=view&id=3899
Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. (2013, September 17). Cuts in House Leadership SNAP Proposal Would Affect Millions of Low-Income Americans. Retrieved from http://www.cbpp.org/cms/index.cfm?fa=view&id=4009