BEYOND THE NUMBERS
As policymakers negotiate a new economic relief package, boosting SNAP (food stamps) should be at the top of their list, new videos in our “SNAP Matters” series show.
SNAP is one of the nation’s most effective programs to respond to hardship and stimulate the economy during a downturn. These three new brief videos explain — as our earlier videos did as well — that since increased need will continue for some time, boosting SNAP will help ensure that families get enough to eat and will help the economy recover. For these reasons, policymakers must increase SNAP maximum benefits by 15 percent in the next relief bill.
The videos show:
- Families are facing alarming challenges meeting basic needs. CBPP’s Joseph Llobrera explains that due to the economic crisis, “rising food need and higher food prices are making it even tougher for many to make ends meet.” Growing numbers of households are reporting difficulty affording food and meeting other basic needs. Particularly alarming is the rise in the number of children whose families report that they aren’t getting enough to eat, which can have long-term consequences for their health and well-being. And, due to longstanding inequities exacerbated by COVID-19’s disproportionate impact on Black and Latino communities, families of color are likelier to struggle to afford enough food.
- SNAP plays an irreplaceable role in responding to crises. As Llobrera explains, “while churches and food banks are doing heroic work to address the need created by the COVID-19 pandemic, they are not equipped to address a problem of this scope and scale.” One of SNAP’s chief strengths is that it can expand quickly to respond to increased need. During this crisis, SNAP has provided essential benefits to help more than 6 million additional people buy groceries, which marks an unprecedented increase.
- Boosting SNAP will help families afford food and stimulate the economy. While SNAP quickly reaches people in need, benefits were already inadequate for many before the current crisis. Since families have lost income and food costs have grown, many households will need more to afford enough food. In addition, “increasing SNAP benefits provides one of the biggest bangs-for-the-buck in shoring up our economy,” Llobrera states. That’s because SNAP households spend their benefits quickly, which helps to keep people employed in local stores and, in turn, helps to fuel economic recovery.
In short, as Llobrera states, “Congress can act to boost SNAP benefits now.” Policymakers shouldn’t wait another day.