A food stamp cut is coming

The current temporary boost in aid is set to expire in November, and there's little political will to do much about it.

By Jason Notte Aug 21, 2013 9:37AM
A sign on a frozen food case indicates that food stamps are accepted at the Dollar General Corp. store in Saddle Brook, New Jersey (© Emile Wamsteker/Bloomberg via Getty Images)No matter how the political fight over food stamps plays out, one conclusion seems certain: The amount of money the government dedicates to them will be going down.

As the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities points out, the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act's temporary funding increase for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) ends in November. While President Barack Obama and some members of Congress have occasionally mentioned renewing it, the political will to keep it in place appears to be lacking.

With the number of food stamp recipients nearly tripling from 17 million in 1997 to more than 47 million today and the program's annual cost more than doubling to $80 billion, critics see any reduction as a victory.

Families of three receiving benefits, however, would see cuts of $29 a month, or $319 a year, according to the CBPP. That adds up to $5 billion in total reductions and would trim benefits to roughly $1.40 per meal.

The cuts will affect an estimated 23 million households and roughly 22 million children. It will also disproportionately affect states where 1 in 5 residents are on food stamps, including Mississippi, Tennessee, New Mexico and Oregon. Even in California, where it's notoriously tough to get food stamps and only 11% of the population uses them, $457 million in benefits are about to disappear.

Don't laugh, Texas and Florida: The cuts will take nearly $400 million worth of food stamps off the table in each of your states.

People holding out for a last-minute solution might want to consider expending their energy more efficiently elsewhere. When Congress sees a nice, fat cut that it can make with only token political resistance, it will do so every time. Just look at your paycheck and think back to how expendable the payroll tax cut was during the fiscal cliff fight at the beginning of the year.

With 15% of the nation on food stamps, any loss of benefits is going to hurt. That this cut is expiring without much of a fight does little to ease the pain.

More on moneyNOW

Aug 21, 2013 11:59AM

I know a few people who actually need food assistance, and can't get it (mainly because they're citizens, white, and worked/paid taxes all of their lives.) And, I still see illegal immigrants driving around in $50K SUV's with big, shiny wheels and loud stereos, that have never worked a day in their life, or paid taxes.


You tell me....There's something way wrong with the system.

Aug 21, 2013 10:54AM

Anybody on food stamps should have their income and expenditures audited as if they are going through bankruptcy.  True need should be verified.


Aug 21, 2013 10:56AM

Gee, what a shame. Maybe with the cuts they'll stop buying all that junk food (which should be prohibited anyway) and start buying nutritional food (which is all that should have ever been allowed to start with).. It is, after all, called the Supplemental  NUTRITION Assistance Program, not the Supplemental Junk Food Assistance Program!

Aug 21, 2013 11:07AM
The vast majority are scamming the system.  Cutting it out completely is not the answer.  They also have 4.7 kids avg.  They don't want jobs, or anything but a free hand out.  The sad part is when kids are born into this they have an 85% probability of ending up on it.  You can't blame them it's what their parents did!  I say if they want to put their feet up fine, just be on birth control!  Bringing a kid into the world and not teaching it how to survive is the worst thing a person can do!
Aug 21, 2013 11:09AM
How about this if you have never worked you are cut off pretty simple stuff!
Aug 21, 2013 10:03AM
How stupid is our government?  The focus is on WHO gets the aid, not how much.  The abuse is that there are too many who live high on the hog from government hand outs.  SHowBama's administration opened up the eligibility to include too many that don't need the help.
Aug 21, 2013 11:07AM
Good. Now if we add some reforms, no one will go hungry.

Food Stamps are one of the most abused and wasteful social program this country has ever developed. A family of four receives more money monthly then my family of five spends a month on food. The amount paid out each month should be cut by at least one third. Purchases by food stamps should be (if not already) restricted to the following: Fresh/frozen non prepared meats & fish, fresh/frozen non prepared vegetables, deli meats/cheeses, canned goods, breads, non sweetened dairy, and non sweetened juices. The following should always be banned, and processes need to be in place where not already, to restrict: Soda, bottled water, power and energy drinks, sweetened juices, coffee, tea, ice cream, candy, energy bars, any pre-prepared meals or sandwiches, snacks/junk food, or any food that is mail ordered or shipped anywhere. If these rules would be followed, and recipients would learn how to shop and properly eat, no one would be hungry and we the taxpayers would save billions.

            Tobacco and alcohol should be banned from purchase by welfare funds. No cash should be allowed to be pulled off of any assistance cards except at banks and should be limited to a very low percentage of funds.

Aug 21, 2013 11:20AM
That would be $630 a month for my family. We do not ever spend that much a month. They need to cut more.
Aug 21, 2013 11:40AM
to MOST (not the people who really need it) food stamp recipients....

Aug 21, 2013 11:58AM

Food stamps should only be available for people who are totally and permanently disabled.  The others should get a job and buy there own food.  What, you say they can't get a job?  How come 15 million Mexican's have found jobs here?


Maybe there wouldn't be a need for stamps or other welfare if the breeding farms would stop producing baby's.  If you can't feed the kids, then you shouldn't be allowed to have them.  Sterilize the baby producers and the problems will go away.

Aug 21, 2013 11:15AM
LOL We have one group saying that it's Obama's fault that more people are on food stamps and the other saying he is screwing the poor that are on them. In reality the people that are abusing the system are the ones screwing the poor because they are taking benefits from people that really need them. I am in both camps. I see the abuse and think it needs to be stopped. I also think that this needs to be used for healthy food not junk food. The concept of food stamps means you are being kept from starvation not given money to buy what you want. Someone mentioned beans and rice. I agree these should be mandatory. Half the nations in the world survive on 1 or both of these. Cheap,filling,supply the protein,carbs and fiber needed. Milk should be there as well as veggies both fresh and frozen. All prepared food should be banned.
Aug 21, 2013 11:42AM

ALL government programs will be cut.  Food stamps, medicare, medicaid, social security, Obamacare, etc. It's simple math.  We don't have the money for all the "promised" benefits. 


Those who depend on the government are screwed.  Benefits will continue to be cut and out-of-pocket costs will continue to increase.  


With our current government, eventually all taxpayers will be poor, while the aristocrats in government live the high life.


Ready for a change yet?



Aug 21, 2013 10:21AM
$1.40 sounds like a lot when you consider that Sheriff Joe feeds his inmates on less than half that.
Aug 21, 2013 11:11AM
For the first time in 30 years of working, paying taxes, and not having any help from any government agencies, I now need food assistance and am glad to have been able to get it.  I have watched so many people use government assistance to the extreme and then others have to go through hurdles to get a little help (it took me two to three months to get help).  So far I have two months of assistance and have been out of work with no unemployment or anything for over three years.  I went back to school to get a teaching degree (lost job and retirement because of the housing/ economic crises and could not get a job) and lived off of money I saved up from a job I had (well, actually three jobs) for over thirty years actually.  I had to fight tooth and nail to get help two months.  Teaching jobs do not exist in Ohio because our Governor has wiped out and destroyed our school systems.  Kasick has given tax breaks to millionaires and business which has hurt schools and has cut money to our schools while trying to bust up the teacher's unions and building charter schools that are owned by big business and other countries which pay American teachers less than thirty thousand a year.  Over 500,000 new, layed-off, and/or displaced teachers now do not have jobs and many can not even pay off student loans. Sorry - got off of subject.  No everyone receiving assistance wants to be on assistance - I would rather have a job - I feel better with a job and feel as though I am needed.  I still believe that people should not receive assistance unless they have at least ten to twenty years of work.  I am depressed at times because I see foreigners get all kinds of help and here I am after thirty years of work - losing a job which was not any fault of my own- and can barely get 16 dollars a month for food.  Yes, that is right 16 dollars a month!!!!  I have a friend, who after high school, had two kids - went on assistant government programs (welfare) who gets 800 dollars a month for housing, 600 dollars in food assistance and gets electric, gas, etc. paid for and never once in her life had to work.  Just like I said - I want a job teaching (always really had) and I do not want to be on assistance.  I just want to work and I want things to be fair to everyone.  So. I think what they need to do is change some rules and laws on how they determine who gets food stamps.  Many able bodied people are not working because they do get more - especially those with children.  I am so disgussed in our government and our congressmen, and just in general.   
Aug 21, 2013 10:25AM
Why can't we have rules that give incentives to buy healthier foods?  Like have there still be a choice, but have it so you can buy more fruits and veggies instead of chips and soda pop(corn syrup).  Kill 2 birds with one stone, fixes the food stamp program and help long run health care costs too! 

Oh wait, politicians are lobbyists :P

Aug 21, 2013 12:07PM
hey its just me, but any one that needs it (that is a citizen) should get it ......BUT.... if you aren't a citizen and are gaming the system, DEATH
Aug 21, 2013 10:57AM

I think this needed to happen, as it appears to be a step in the right direction (5 billion in savings).


I do find it strange how Obama continues to bash the very people who voted for him.  It will be interesting to see how this affects the upcoming elections. 

Aug 21, 2013 12:00PM
Who writes this sh!t?? Is their no such thing as unbiased journalism anymore. Yo Jason, please write another article explaining why a reduction in food stamps should not correlate to improvement in the economy?? We increased food stamps due to the recession but that's over now. Every day a liberal tells me we're all better off than we were 5 years ago. Don't you agree Jason?? So if we ramped up aid when there was a need why wouldn't we reduce the aid now that there is less of a need?? Seems like common sense. Do you have any?? Or just another moron getting paid to spouting rhetoric?
Aug 21, 2013 10:21AM
This is proof the government works for big companies, and the rich.  Lobbyists run the show, period.
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