Ten must-know facts about food stamps

Today millions of Americans will receive less money in food aid.  The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is being cut by $5 billion. 

At the Marketplace Wealth & Poverty Desk, we've been following the issue closely and have identified 10 facts everyone should know when reading about today’s cuts:

  1. The food stamps program was expanded in 2009 as part of the post-financial crisis government stimulus plan. Funding for the program increased by around $45 billion, for a temporary period. The program increased average monthly benefits to around $133 a month.
  2. Currently, around 47 million Americans are on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.
  3. Households of three people will receive $29 less per month in SNAP benefits, and households of four will receive $36 less per month.
  4. The end of the extra funding is predicted to save the government $5 billion in 2014, and $11 billion in total by 2016.
  5. More than 80 percent of SNAP households have monthly incomes of below the federal poverty line.
  6. According to estimates, the cuts are equivalent to 16 meals a month for a family of three and 21 meals for a family of four.
  7. The cuts will hit some states especially hard. For instance, Georgia and Illinois will see cuts of over $200 million, while California and Texas will see cuts of over $400 million.
  8. House Republicans have proposed about $40 billion in cuts to food stamps over the next decade. A cut of that magnitude could end benefits for nearly 4 million people by next year.
  9. Veterans will be hit hard by today’s cuts. A study by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities says that, "In any given month, a total of 900,000 veterans nationwide lived in households that relied on SNAP to provide food for their families in 2011."
  10. In the United States more than 21 million children live in a household that receives SNAP.

Now, here are five must-read articles on the cuts happening today:

  • How food stamp cuts will affect your state (USA Today)
  • As Cuts to Food Stamps Take Effect, More Trims to Benefits Are Expected (NYT)
  • Oh SNAP, veterans get dissed by the GOP (WP)
  • Food Stamps will get cut by $5 billion this week- and more cuts could follow (WP's Wonkblog): 
  • Today’s Food Stamp Cuts Are Only the Beginning (The Atlantic)

About the author

John Ketchum is an assistant producer for Marketplace’s wealth & poverty desk.

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