The 2009’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act’s (ARRA) temporary boost in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as food stamps) benefits expires today. This means that the more than 47 million Americans, including 664,000 Mississippians, who rely on SNAP to meet basic nutritional needs, will experience a reduction in their food assistance benefits.
This benefit cut will affect all households that participate in SNAP, the majority of which include children, seniors, and people with disabilities. Nationally, more than 21 million children – more than 1 in 4 of all children – live in a household that receives SNAP benefits. In Mississippi, more than 40 percent (307,000) of children receive SNAP benefits. Further, in Mississippi, November’s SNAP cut for households with children will total $49 million in the remaining 11 months of fiscal year 2014.
The cut in monthly benefits will be substantial for families. A household of three, such as a mother with two children, is likely to see a cut of $29 a month. For a struggling family, the loss of $29 a month may be the difference in purchasing a tank of gas or pack of diapers, etc. Additionally, benefits, after the cut, will average less than $1.40 per person per meal in 2014. That is the equivalent to taking away 16 meals for a household of three, based on the cost of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) “Thrifty Food Plan.”
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 today’s cuts will have even less ability to keep food on the table.
Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. (2013, October 24). November 1 SNAP Cuts Will Affect Millions of Children, Seniors, and People with Disabilities: State-by-State Figures Highlight the Impacts Across the Country. Retrieved from http://www.cbpp.org/cms/index.cfm?fa=view&id=4036