Food Assistance Cuts Will Affect 48 Million Americans Today

Automatic cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) begin today. Emergency measures added additional assistance near the beginning of the great recession. The automatic cuts go into effect today, despite the negative impact on low-income families who are continuing to struggle due to the recession.

Nearly 48 million Americans, including 22 million children, will begin to see their food assistance benefits cut today.

That according to a statement released by the Center for Budget Policy Priorities (CBPP) today, which detailed how the cuts would affect individuals, and recommended these details be taken into account as lawmakers consider further cuts to the program.

With the intention of deficit reduction in mind, the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives are considering additional cuts to the program. The Senate bill cuts an additional $4 billion, and the House bill cuts an additional $40 billion, and conference committees are currently trying to settle on a final bill.

SNAP benefits averaged $1.40 per meal per person in fiscal year 2014, covering a total of 21 meals per person. The coming cuts will reduce benefits by an average of $9/person a month. That’s more than 6 meals of the 21 meals covered per month.

Most SNAP recipients are employed individuals, or children.

The program, designed to subsidize working people, helps keep millions of people out of poverty every year. 82 percent of SNAP households were employed during the previous or following year.

The number of SNAP recipients is expected to decline and reach 1995 levels.  Cuts to the program are expected to have negligible benefits to deficit reduction. Additionally, every $5 in new SNAP benefits generates as much as $9 of economic activity (job creation, increased tax revenue, further deficit reduction).