Government Proposal to Change Benefits Under the SNAP Program

According to NPR:

The Trump administration is proposing a major shake-up in one of the country’s most important “safety net” programs, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as food stamps. Under the proposal, most SNAP recipients would lose much of their ability to choose the food they buy with their SNAP benefits.

The proposal is included in the Trump administration budget request for fiscal year 2019. It would require approval from Congress.

Under the proposal, which was announced Monday, low-income Americans who receive at least $90 a month — just over 80 percent of all SNAP recipients — would get about half of their benefits in the form of a “USDA Foods package.” The package was described in the budget as consisting of “shelf-stable milk, ready to eat cereals, pasta, peanut butter, beans and canned fruit and vegetables.” The boxes would not include fresh fruits or vegetables.

From what I have read so far, half of the month benefits would still be available on the recipient’s EBT card, but the other half would consist of actual foodstuffs, such as shelf-stable milk, cereal, peanut butter, canned fruit and vegetables, and meat/fish. These USDA packages are called America’s Harvest Boxes. All of the food will be sourced in the United States, the production of American farmers.

The USDA believes that state governments will be able to deliver this food at much less cost than SNAP recipients currently pay for food at retail stores — thus reducing the overall cost of the SNAP program by $129 billion over the next 10 years.

This and other changes in the SNAP program, will reduce the SNAP budget by $213 billion over those years — cutting the program by almost 30 percent.

According to the USDA, potential models for the infrastructure are programs that are already in place, such as the National School Lunch Program, Commodity Supplemental Food Program, the Emergency Food Assistance Program and the Food Distribution Program on Indian reservations. The actual deliver system will be left up to the individual states, using their existing infrastructure.

Naturally, retailers are already complaining, as they see it as a threat to their sales, and claiming that it will undermine efforts to deliver benefits to SNAP recipients.

Of course, “advocacy” groups are opposed, and showing a strange opposition to government bureaucracy and “intrusive” government intervention. It seems that they have found a new appreciation of the free market, at least as they define it:

Joel Berg, CEO of Hunger Free America, a hunger advocacy group that also helps clients access food-assistance services, said the administration’s plan left him baffled. “They have managed to propose nearly the impossible, taking over $200 billion worth of food from low-income Americans while increasing bureaucracy and reducing choices,” Berg says.

He says SNAP is efficient because it is a “free market model” that lets recipients shop at stores for their benefits. The Trump administration’s proposal, he said, “is a far more intrusive, Big Government answer. They think a bureaucrat in D.C. is better at picking out what your family needs than you are?”

A comment I saw on Facebook says,

Because some people on food stamps are poor but conscientious, choose healthful food carefully and prepare it themselves, and don’t want the government choosing food for them that is inferior to their accustomed diet. I have such a friend, and have had one or two others.

My answer to her?

“The proposal only suggests that half of the monthly allotment would be made up of pre-packaged food. Your friend could use the other half to make her choices. Hey, it’s free. If the government wanted to give me free food I would be grateful, not critical.”

What do you think?

As of last November, about 41.7 million individuals in 20.8 million households were SNAP beneficiaries, at a cost of 5.3 billion dollars, or approximately $256 per household.

 

 

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39 Responses to Government Proposal to Change Benefits Under the SNAP Program

  1. Gil says:

    Looooooonnnggggg overdue. My grandmother used to go to the senior center in the 1980s and get just that food box. I ate some of it and it was fine. Surplus foods packed for assistance programs. Generic packaging but new boxes, etc. The kind that said cheese or oatmeal. This is exactly right. You know, we pay 10 cents for grocery bags but peopke on food stamps are exempt. I dont buy them anyways.
    I had a woman buying a bunch of nonessentials stuff in front of me at walmart and then said “Oh, I want bags but use the EBT.” Abuse right in front of me. I wanted to slap her.

    Liked by 1 person

    • kinthenorthwest says:

      You know I grew up in the 50s when there wasn’t any help. My father died when I was three. My mother went back to school, along with working, often more than one job.
      We survived with some weird sparse meals at times. This is one of the reasons I have no sympathy for Illegals that politicians say it OK for them to disobey our laws since they are poor and hungry. Although I didn’t learn til later, but there were times she pretty much starved, yet she never broke any laws.

      Liked by 3 people

  2. Gil says:

    Oh. No more candy or soda. You dont like it then buy your own stuff.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. kinthenorthwest says:

    Several years ago I had to do food stamps in the summer due to no sub jobs. Since 2 days of subbing got me more than minimum wage would get me for 40 hours a week,, it was my best bet. No one would hire me just for summer work or evening work even at minimum wage. Seems that I was either too old & too over qualified. I never used the card for coke or junk food. If I wanted my diet coke or some junk food I used my own money to the shocked looks of many a cashier.

    There are still other areas that need to be taken care of with Welfare but this is a start. I think that any family that receives SNAP should have head of households that are legal, Then maybe the Illegals won’t come here to make a living off the government. Seems that one state tried a law where only the people who were legal were eligible in household. That was beaten down by the ACLU so that if a family of five had one anchor baby their Welfare was based on 5. We need to also take care of the anchor law too.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Gil says:

      Good point!

      Liked by 1 person

    • stella says:

      Last night on the telephone my friend told me about a woman working her podiatrist’s office. She is from Vietnam (I assume legally). She gets housing assistance and SNAP, yet she is planning a $50,000 wedding this coming summer. How is that possible?

      Liked by 2 people

      • auscitizenmom says:

        Pictures of her wedding need to be turned in to whoever runs SNAP.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Gil says:

        It makes me very angry. My mother goes to food banks and gets heavily discounted and some free food. She pays and does some minimal volunteer time for it. If people commit fraud like that, they probably do it in other areas of their life.

        Liked by 2 people

        • kinthenorthwest says:

          I know the Mormon church helps out their members, but if they are able they ask that they volunteer at the church farms, canneries or with cleaning the church.
          Most of the welfare people could do something. There was a state that a friend told me about, I want to say Utah, but can’t remember. The welfare people did training. If they had kids the daycare was provided, but the mothers volunteered a day or 2 of day care a week. I do believe that this should be something to look into. No real cost for daycare, and the people get a way to get off welfare.

          Like

      • kinthenorthwest says:

        She probably using some different names.
        But have to say, at leat majority of the orientals seems to want to assimilate.
        The Illegals from Mexico & South America don’t seem to give a crap about America. I mean look at how they handle the American flag(burning it, and hanging it under a Mexican flag. ) and what flag they carry in their protests(Mexican flag. )

        Liked by 1 person

    • auscitizenmom says:

      Right. Anchor babies are half the problem.

      Liked by 1 person

    • joshua says:

      if the kids are getting free meals at school, that needs to reduce the amount of food available via welfare as well. Most schools now give free breakfast and free lunch to the kids….that is 12 years of two meals a day for 5 days a week, and in summer many districts have subsidized meals for the kids even when school is not in session. Distribute the food through the schools so parents have to go THERE to pick up their food packages…and maybe they would have a clue about what the schools are doing to teach the kids…and make them speak English to get food as well.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Jacqueline Taylor Robson says:

    I don’t think “food” should consist of sodas and chips! My mom had 9 kids, and at times we ate potted meat sandwiches and were grateful! I bet if you gave half of those people a pound of dried beans, they wouldn’t even know how to cook them!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Jacqueline Taylor Robson says:

      At least once a week, I still cook a pound of beans, some greens and a pan of cornbread! YUM! Even my British DH has fallen for the “Soul food” of the South.

      Liked by 5 people

    • kinthenorthwest says:

      My mom had some weird biscuit recipe which tasted horrid. I have a feeling it was just flour and water & maybe a bit of shortening or grease…that was when we knew to not ask for any extra treats.
      Will say I do remember us going to the store & asking the butcher for the dog bones which didn’t make sense since we didn’t get a dog until much later. . Found out later it was the ham hock bones, which in the 50s were free. Mom later told us that the butcher gave us the better ones that had more pieces of ham still on them.

      Like

        • kinthenorthwest says:

          Ham hocks & beans…LOL
          Took me until I was an adult to like homemade bread & I think a few years after I got married to like beans & ham hocks…Not sure if it was that I liked beans & ham hocks again or it was a cheap meal! First 8 or nine years of marriage was kind of lean, especially since we had 3 kids within the first 3 years LOL.

          Liked by 1 person

          • stella says:

            I make homemade bread at least once a week. I never used to do that!

            I’ve always made bean soup with ham hocks. And other kinds of soup too. I made a new thing this week for lunches. I had leftover ham in the freezer, and I found a recipe for a casserole dish with potatoes, cabbage, onions, garlic, and ham. It’s delicious!

            Liked by 2 people

            • kinthenorthwest says:

              I think it takes us all a while to appreciate things like homemade bread and good home cooked beans.
              I do bread for pot lucks and such, but since I live alone don’t bake it like I used to. Home baked bread seems to lose something after being frozen.

              Like

          • I still save/reuse bones for soups, etc. Ham bone for pea or bean soup. Turkey, chicken, or pork, or even steak bones for various soups. After the bones get cooked (again) what’s left usually goes to the dog. He hangs around drooling whenever I’m picking the meat off of the bones waiting for his extra treats!

            Liked by 2 people

    • rheavolans says:

      “I bet if you gave half of those people a pound of dried beans, they wouldn’t even know how to cook them!”

      Well, they can get on their (probably government issued) smartphones and find out. And they’ll learn a useful skill too.

      Liked by 2 people

      • kinthenorthwest says:

        I think most of them don’t know how to cook anything thing that doesn’t come in a package…I have seen some of the carts in front of me paid with the food cards. Hamburger helper & lots of hamburger patties, hot dogs & frozen meal…

        Like

        • michellc says:

          See commodities would be perfect for them, they could just not get the dried beans and only get the macaroni and spaghetti and canned foods. Outside of cooking the pasta, they could just open cans and pop the food in the microwave and heat it up.

          Liked by 1 person

  5. stella says:

    Looks to me like the USDA can use the programs they already have in place for SNAP.

    https://whatscooking.fns.usda.gov/fdd/household-material-fact-sheets

    Liked by 2 people

  6. michellc says:

    I’ve been saying they should do this for years. Indians have been getting commodities forever and from studies I’ve seen it costs much less per family than food stamps.

    As for the person you mentioned Stella who doesn’t want the government choosing her food for her, then my message to her is, “don’t sign up for free food if you’re not grateful for what you get, you could be hungry.” With commodities though because I know people who get them, not everything is pre-packaged. They do get powdered milk as well as evaporated milk, dried pasta, dry cereal, oatmeal, cream of wheat, canned fruit and veggies, canned juices and canned meat, flour, cornmeal, but they also get raisins, prunes, cheese, butter, apples, oranges, potatoes and onions as well ground beef and chicken. If she’s so worried about choice from what I have been told as long as you don’t exceed your limits on each group of items, you can choose to get how many you want of each item or not get things you don’t want. Heck I would love to get commodities and if I was getting free food and had my choice between food stamps and commodities, I’d choose commodities because the people I know get a lot more food every month than people on food stamps.

    Liked by 2 people

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