At the end of this week, thousands of Nebraska families who receive food assistance will face even more uncertainty because of a nationwide reduction in payments from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.
On November 1, there will be a nationwide reduction in payments from SNAP, formerly called ‘food stamps’, which helps about 180,000 Nebraskans – or 10 percent of our state’s population – put food on the table each year.
The reduction in funds comes from the expiration of a temporary boost in SNAP funding that was initiated due to the recession under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA). Beginning in April 2009, ARRA increased the SNAP maximum monthly benefits by 13.6 percent. In general, benefit amounts were increased according to household size.
This small increase in SNAP funding had a hugely positive effect on fighting hunger in America. The U.S. Department of Agriculture found the boost reduced the number of “very low security” households – defined as households where one or more people had to skip meals or eat less than they would otherwise because of lack of money – by about 500,000 households. That means half a million more households in the U.S. got adequate meals because of the ARRA increase to SNAP.
But on November 1, that funding will expire. And in Nebraska, where 76 percent of SNAP recipients are households with children, this will have serious consequences. The expiration of the boost will result in a total loss of $18 million to Nebraska SNAP recipients from November 2013 to September 2014.
What does that number mean to a Nebraska family struggling to get enough to eat? In 2012, the average monthly SNAP benefit for a Nebraska household was $122.43 per month. That breaks down to an average of $1.36 per meal per person.
And this reduction of funds comes even as Congress is proposing cuts to SNAP of between $4 billion and $40 billion as debate continues over a comprehensive Farm Bill.
With so many Nebraskans still struggling to get enough to eat, this is no time for severe cuts to the most effective tool we have to combat public hunger.
We urge you to contact Nebraska’s U.S. senators and House of Representatives members and ask them to protect SNAP funding by fighting against future cuts that will hurt the Nebraska children and working families that rely on SNAP to get enough to eat.
- Senator Mike Johanns 202-224-4224 or (402) 758-8981
- Senator Deb Fischer (202) 224-6551 or (402) 441-4600
House of Representatives Members
- District 1 – Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (202) 225-4806 or (402) 438-1598
- District 2 – Rep. Lee Terry (202) 225-4155 or (402) 397-9944
- District 3 – Rep. Adrian Smith (202) 225-6435 or (308) 384-3900
No Nebraska family should go hungry, but further reductions to SNAP will put more of our friends, co-workers, and neighbors in the vulnerable position of not knowing where their next meal may come from.