Funding for food stamps (the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program) was increased a few years ago as part of the federal stimulus package. Unlike temporary tax cuts and business subsidies, which tend to last forever, the temporary increase in SNAP funding ended November 1st.
The average monthly benefit per household two years ago was $293. Now it will be about $278, down 5%.There is an article here with more information, including an interactive map that allows you to see the numbers for your state. In Arizona, for example, 1.1 million people are covered by SNAP, including 538,000 children.
It’s easy to demonize people you don’t know. Who are these slackers and scam artists who use food stamps anyway?
Sometimes they’re people you know or even people just like you. One of them writes:
People tend to think of food stamp recipients as poor, unfortunate, lazy, things along those lines. Be aware that recipients are also people trying to better themselves, simply needing some assistance to do so. Case in point: There was a time in the past when I was studying towards a graduate degree on a scholarship. The scholarship wasn’t nearly enough to live on. I did odd jobs for faculty to earn some money to help with my cash flow situation, but I also qualified for food stamps. With my level of income, I was eligible to be subsidized at 50%. That is, I could buy $1 of food stamps for 50 cents, up to a certain total amount of stamps every week, essentially doubling the amount of food I could buy and allowing me to devote more time studying towards a degree.
At the food stamp office, there were some other younger folks like myself, but most people were clearly much more desperate: people weak and elderly, women tending to babies and young children, disabled people. Standing on line waiting your turn, you could hear the transactions at the counter ahead of you, and could hear that many of these people were subsidized at 100%. I can guarantee you it has never occurred to me they should not have received this assistance. Today, to hear people say that citizens in need should be denied this kind of support, which simply enables them to buy enough food, well, I can’t decide if it makes me sad, angry, disgusted, depressed or all of those things.
It’s all of those things.