SNAP: NECESSARY FOR SURVIVAL

Sep 23rd, 2013 | By Sharon Shaw Elrod MSW EdD | Category: Social Security & Medicare

Hunger is a National Disgrace

People who are hungry because they do not generate enough income to buy enough food are entitled to assistance from We The People. And the Federal Government takes the form of We The People. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP–formerly Food Stamps) is designed to assist people with their nutritional needs when they are unable to buy enough food for their needs.

The House of Representatives voted last week (September 18, 2013) to cut nutritional assistance to millions of hungry people. Hunger alone is a national disgrace; and removing assistance from people who need help to get enough to eat just compounds the sin.

This does not make sense to us.  And the rationales offered are not based on facts; they are based on distortions and outright lies. For example, some news media report politicians saying that people on SNAP wouldn’t have to be on the program if they just got a job. The Federal Government reported in 2010 that 76% of SNAP households included a senior, a child or a disabled person. These are people who by the very nature of who they are, do not or cannot work. Thirty percent of SNAP households DO work. The ‘just work’ issue is not based on reality.

More Distortions

Another myth suggests that SNAP is too heavy a load for taxpayers.  Wait a minute. That doesn’t hold any water at all.  SNAP assistance generates income. The Coalition for Hunger reports this:

“Every $1 in SNAP benefits generates $1.73 in economic activity, according to Moody’s economist Mark Zandi. SNAP not only helps low-income people buy groceries, it frees up cash for other expenses, such as medical care, clothing, home repairs and childcare. That benefits local businesses and their employees, which boosts the economy as a whole.” CoalitionforHunger.org

Some more distortions that are simply not true:

  • Fraud and abuse of the program are rampant: The error rate is actually less than 3% in SNAP, one of the lowest of any program in the Federal Government;
  • SNAP recipients include undocumented immigrants: They are not eligible for SNAP benefits. A SSN or green card (legal immigrants) are required to enroll for benefits, and legal immigrants have to be in the country documented for five years before they are eligible for benefits;
  • Hunger isn’t a problem where I live: Wrong. Hunger exists in every community in the country.

SCJ encourages all readers to become educated about hunger issues in our nation, and to support efforts to provide adequate nutrition to all, and to eventually eradicate hunger.

 



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