Senior Fellow and Interim Program Area Lead for Food Assistance
The 2009 Recovery Act’s temporary boost in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits ends on November 1, which will mean a benefit cut for each of the nearly 48 million SNAP recipients — most of whom live in households with children, seniors, or people with disabilities.
Next week’s benefit cut will be substantial. A household of three, such as a mother with two children, will lose $29 a month — a total of $319 for November 2013 through September 2014, the remaining 11 months of fiscal year 2014 (see chart). That equals about 16 meals a month for a family of three based on the cost of U.S. Agriculture Department’s “Thrifty Food Plan.”
Most of the households that receive SNAP benefits include children, seniors, or people with disabilities, as we detail in a new analysis. Nationally, more than 21 million children — that is, more than 1 in 4 of all children — live in a household that receives SNAP. At least a quarter of children receive SNAP benefits in more than 30 states and the District of Columbia; in some states, this figure is more than 40 percent. November’s SNAP cut for households with children will total $3.5 billion in the remaining 11 months of fiscal year 2014. Similarly, more than 9 million seniors and people with disabilities receive SNAP. Their households will experience a $1.2 billion benefit cut over the same period.
The depth and breadth of these cuts are unprecedented. They are taking effect as the House and Senate Agriculture Committees begin their conference committee negotiations on the Farm Bill, which includes a reauthorization of — and proposed cuts to — SNAP. The House version of the bill would cut SNAP by nearly $40 billion over the next 10 years, denying benefits to about 3.8 million people in 2014 and an average of 3 million people each year over the coming decade.
The committee’s members negotiating the final Farm Bill should keep next week’s benefit cut in mind as they consider whether to cut SNAP even more deeply.
Click here for the full paper and state-by-state data on the impact of the November 1 cuts.