Coalition Statement on SNAP (Food Stamp) Cut in Farm Bill Will Affect 175,000 Households in PA
Statement attributable to Policy Manager, Coalition Against Hunger
On Feb. 7, President Obama signed a Farm Bill that would slash $8.6 billion from SNAP (food stamps), our nation’s most effective program in fighting hunger.
Many have pointed out that the Farm Bill leaves out many of the more draconian cuts originally passed in the House, but make no mistake: This legislation will hurt 850,000 American households who will see their SNAP benefits reduced as a result--on top of cuts that already took place last November.
Pennsylvania and the 14 other states that operate Heat & Eat programs will bear the burden of these cuts. The Coalition Against Hunger estimates that 175,000 households in our state will lose an average of $65 a month in food assistance. But many people would lose much more.
We spoke with a senior the other day who receives just $755 a month in Social Security benefits. She’s likely to see her food assistance reduced from $189 a month to just $53.
Another one of our clients, a 93-year-old woman in West Philadelphia, will lose $141 a month in SNAP benefits. She'll go from receiving $160 a month in food assistance to just $19. There's no way that anyone can claim that a Farm Bill that takes so much from someone who's worked nearly all her life is a fair compromise.
For many seniors like them, cuts to SNAP will push them closer to the edge, making it that much harder to pay the rent each month or afford the prescriptions they need.
Cuts to SNAP are also an economic loss to our state. The Coalition estimates that Pennsylvania's economy will lose more than $136 million in federally funded SNAP benefits that would have otherwise been spent at grocery stores, farmers markets and small businesses across the Commonwealth.
Food banks and other charities in our state already can’t keep up with the skyrocketing need, and they certainly can’t fill the $136 million gap in food aid left by this Farm Bill.
Congress cannot continue to hack away at a program that serves as a lifeline for more than 1.8 million in our state. These SNAP cuts come on top of the across-the-board cuts that just took place in November. For many Americans, the SNAP benefits they have are already inadequate, often running out after the third week of the month.