Commentary: The Uncomfortable Truths About the Food Stamp Program

Volunteers sorting through food stamps

A recent administrative action has permanently increased benefits for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) by 25 percent. Unfortunately, this historic boost fails to address the structural problems that plague this nearly 60-year-old program.

The official Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) webpage proudly proclaims that, “SNAP provides nutrition benefits to supplement the food budget of needy families so they can purchase healthy food…”

To that admirable end, the program formerly known as food stamps distributed $79 billion to 40 million people last year. Yet this desire to provide wholesome food to needy families conflicts with clear evidence that wholesome food is not what they think they need. Whether they play by the rules or not, people receiving SNAP benefits currently spend between 70-100 percent of that benefit on things other than healthy food.

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Emergency SNAP Benefits Extended into June for Virginians

Virginians who receive food stamps will continue to be eligible for higher pandemic-era benefits through June, the Virginia Department of Social Services announced.

Families receiving food stamps through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program will see additional benefits automatically loaded onto their EBT cards. The funds will be added n June 16.

A household of one will be eligible for up to $234 monthly while the emergency funding continues. A family of two could receive up to $430, a family of three up to $616 and a family of four up to $782. The funding gradually increases for every additional member of a family.

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Stafford County, Virginia Uses Federal Grant to Provide Restaurant Vouchers to SNAP Recipients

Stafford County is sending some extra cash to its 3,900 Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients in the form of $150 worth of restaurant vouchers to one of 100 local restaurants. County Board of Supervisors Chair Meg Bohmke said the nearly $800,000 program is the first part of the Stafford Cares initiative, a series of programs aimed at helping the county recover physically, mentally, and financially from COVID-19.

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Court Ruling Reverses Trump Administration’s SNAP Changes

The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on Sunday blocked a Trump administration change to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) that could have removed eligibility for almost 700,000 unemployed, able-bodied Americans.

A lawsuit filed in January by a multistate coalition alleged a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) rule wrongly reversed a decades-old policy that allowed states to waive SNAP work requirements. The previous rules granted waivers for larger geographic areas by lumping certain regions with lower unemployment with locations registering higher unemployment, as well as carryover unused exemptions.

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