Congress Passes Farm Bill – SNAP Cuts Minimized

Family shops for foodAfter years of wrangling capped by a surprise defeat last year in the House, Congress finally mustered the votes to clear a five-year reauthorization of the farm bill.  The bill includes the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as food stamps.

Under the bill, funding for SNAP would be cut by $8 billion over the next decade.  The cuts are slightly higher than the $4 billion reduction in the original Senate farm bill but far less than the $40 billion reduction advocated by House Republicans. Savings would be largely achieved by preventing states from boosting an individual’s SNAP payments because they receive nominal amounts of home heating aid.  Currently, some states offer as little as one dollar in heating assistance to low-income individuals, which then automatically qualifies them for SNAP benefits.

The SNAP program served more than 43 million Americans in 24 million households annually and the average monthly household benefit is just under $275 per month.

The SNAP cuts in the just passed farm bill will not affect residents of every state.  About one third of states will see a reduction in SNAP because of the way the reduction was imposed.  Those states are California, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington and Wisconsin.

Goodwill® serves thousands of people each year who receive SNAP benefits and this program is key to helping those recipients and many others break the cycle of poverty.