off the charts
BEYOND THE NUMBERS
BEYOND THE NUMBERS
Millions of people would lose part or all of their SNAP (formerly food stamps) benefits under the new budget from House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, our new report shows. The Ryan budget cuts SNAP by $137 billion over ten years (2015-2024). It includes every major benefit cut in the House-passed version of the farm bill from last year that Congress ultimately rejected. On top of these cuts, which total $12 billion over 2015-2018 and would end food assistance for 3.8 million people, it converts SNAP into a block grant beginning in 2019 and cuts it by another $125 billion — almost 30 percent — over 2019-2024. Since 90 percent of SNAP spending goes to food assistance, a cut of that size would require restricting SNAP eligibility for needy people, slashing benefits, or both.Finally, Chairman Ryan charges that SNAP is rife with waste, fraud, and abuse. The reality is that SNAP has one of the most rigorous quality control systems of any public benefit program and a very low error rate. Despite the recent growth in caseloads, the share of total SNAP payments that represent overpayments or payments to ineligible households fell to a record low of 2.77 percent in fiscal year 2012. It’s important to remember that SNAP serves very vulnerable people. Eighty-three percent of SNAP households have incomes below the poverty line (about $19,800 for a family of three); 42 percent have incomes below half the poverty line (see chart). Also, millions of low-wage workers rely on SNAP to feed their families. SNAP cuts of the size that Chairman Ryan proposes would almost certainly mean more hunger and more poverty.
- If the cuts came solely from restricting eligibility, states would have to cut an average of 10 million people from the program (compared to SNAP enrollment without the cuts) each year between 2019 and 2024.
- If the cuts came solely from across-the-board benefit cuts, states would have to cut SNAP benefits by more than $40 per person per month over 2019-2024 (in nominal dollars), or almost 30 percent, on average.
- Ryan Roundup 2014: Everything You Need to Know About Chairman Ryan’s Latest Budget
- Ryan Budget Gets 69 Percent of Its Cuts from Low-Income Programs
- Ryan Budget Mischaracterizes Housing Vouchers, Then Sets the Stage to Cut Them
- Ryan Budget Again Proposes a Medicaid Block Grant, Adding Millions to the Ranks of the Uninsured and Underinsured
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