Face the Facts: SNAP Benefits

SNAP Program

Myth: The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) has become inefficient and is too often abused.

Truth:  SNAP provides 1 out of 7 Americans with a healthy and sustainable food source.

For many families living in poverty, putting food on the table is often a difficult struggle. Even if they are working, their wages may not be sufficient to cover all necessary expenses, especially healthy groceries.

With SNAP, an elderly woman can savor a hot bowl of soup on a cold winter day. Using food benefits, a single mother can delight in buying her young son a bag of sweet, fresh carrots for an after school snack. These assets can change lives.

SNAP provides 1 out of 7 Americans, half of whom are children and elderly, with greater access to healthier food. The program focuses on supporting the poorest Americans, with 90% of SNAP households below the poverty line and 40% less than half of the poverty line. (Huffington)

As of January 2016, about 45.4 million people participated in the SNAP program. The average client received monthly benefits of $126.39 while the average household received $256.11, depending on family size. (SNAP)

Due to measures to decrease fraud in the system, the program is operating at a payment accuracy of 96.19 percent, which is the most efficient the program ever been.

The electronic benefit transfer (EBT) method, ensures that certain items are prohibited with SNAP benefits, such as alcohol, cigarettes, tobacco, other non-food items, vitamins, medicines or other hot, ready-to-eat foods. (SNAP)

Children are the largest demographic who are helped with the SNAP program. In fact, 44% of participants are children, with two-thirds of them living in households with a single parent. Overall, 76% of SNAP benefits go toward households with children. Many families rely on this aid to provide healthy meals and meals essential nourishment. (SNAP)

The economic benefits of the SNAP program are also important in empowering people to rise out of poverty. In 2011, every $5 spent on SNAP generated $9 in economic activity.  Many enrolled in the program are working to provide wages themselves, with over 40 percent of participants in a household with earnings.

Increasingly, SNAP beneficiaries are receiving their primary income from their own employment rather than just assistance. SNAP can encourage people to find jobs through employment training programs and empowering them to generate their own sources of income. (SNAP)

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Access of West Michigan desires to educate the health benefits people may receive yet are missing out on. Through the Benefits Outreach program, we partner with individuals to help them find the food assistance they need. The classes through the NOW Program also create awareness of additional food sources to help satisfy their grocery budget.

For more information about the SNAP program promoting better and healthier lives for those in our community in poverty, visit: https://www.fns.usda.gov/snap/supplemental-nutrition-assistance-program-snap

Sources:

https://www.snaptohealth.org/snap/snap-frequently-asked-questions/#howmany

https://www.snaptohealth.org/snap/the-real-benefits-of-the-snap-program/

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/susan-blumenthal/food-stamp-myths_b_1334924.html

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