Vermont Families See Cuts in Food Assistance Beginning in November

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program cuts will impact nearly 47 million people including 22 million children nationwide.

Beginning November 1st, more than 100,000 Vermonters, including 34,000 children1, will see their food assistance benefits cut, when a temporary boost to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as food stamps, expires.

All of the more than 47 million Americans, including 22 million children, who receive SNAP will see their food assistance reduced when a modest boost in benefits, included in the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) to strengthen the economy and ease hardship, ends. For a family of three in Vermont, who receive SNAP through the 3SquaresVT program, that cut will mean a reduction of $29 each month.2 This is a serious loss for families whose benefits, after this cut, will average less than $1.40 per person per meal.

“The modest 2009 increase in SNAP benefits has been critical for struggling Vermont families during the deep economic recession and long recovery, empowering them to keep food on the table as they seek employment, send their children off to school, and get themselves back on their feet,” says Sheila Reed of Voices for Vermont’s Children.

On top of the cuts going into effect today, the U.S. House of Representatives also recently passed legislation cutting $40 billion from SNAP.  If enacted, the proposal would provide strong financial incentives for states to reduce their caseloads, making it significantly harder for families to put food on the table, and would eliminate assistance for some of the poorest Americans. The House-passed plan for SNAP coupled with today’s cuts would deal a significant blow to millions of Americans who continue to struggle to make ends meet as the economy continues to slowly recover.

“SNAP has been a powerful tool in helping to keep families out of poverty during the long economic recession and recovery,” states Reed. “The majority of recipients who are able to work, do so. And for those who can’t or are temporarily unable to find a job, this program has helped them feed their children and keep afloat.  Congress should not further reduce this critical assistance to struggling families who after today’s cuts will have even less ability to keep food on the table.”

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1Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, http://www.cbpp.org/cms/index.cfm?fa=view&id=4036

2Food Research and Action Center http://frac.org/federal-foodnutrition-programs/snapfood-stamps/about-the-november-1-snapfood-stamp-benefit-reduction/

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