Metro

  • Written by Tracy Roof, Associate Professor of Political Science, University of Richmond
SNAP benefits cost a total of $85.6B in the 2020 fiscal year amid heightened US poverty and unemployment The government spent a record US$85.6 billion[1] on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program[2] in the fiscal year[3] ending in September. This sum, included in an October Treasury Department report, was about 35% higher than the $63.5 billion the federal government spent in 2019. Spending on this state-administered program, which helps struggling families put food on the table, typically rises and falls in tandem with unemployment and poverty[4]. Along with unemployment insurance[5], SNAP is one of the most responsive programs in a recession. The most vulnerable families can get benefits within seven days[6] of applying. Before the coronavirus pandemic, SNAP spending had been steadily declining since a 2013 peak of nearly $80 billion[7] following the Great Recession[8]. But as the COVID-19-triggered economic crisis hit, monthly spending more than doubled, from $4.9 billion in February to $10.6 billion in June, according to Treasury Department data[9]. The jump came from two factors. First, more people are getting benefits. Second, roughly 60% of the families who get them are eligible for more support than before. Specifically, after the Families First Coronavirus Response Act[10] relief package Congress passed in March 2020, the government temporarily offered the maximum benefit[11], typically given only to those with no income, to all families on SNAP. Following a 5.3% increase[12] announced Oct. 1 in response to rising food costs, that maximum level stands at $680 a month for a family of four. Despite this SNAP spending boost, lines at food banks[13] have grown much longer during the pandemic. To help both overwhelmed food banks and struggling farmers, the U.S. Department of Agriculture launched the Farmers to Families Food Box[14] Program. The government had sent by mid-October 110 million boxes of fresh fruit, vegetables, dairy products and meat to food banks and other organizations assisting people facing economic hardship[15]. The USDA is spending about $4 billion[16] to purchase the food. But the program has been criticized[17] by lawmakers[18] and anti-hunger groups as inefficient and poorly managed[19]. Although food banks have appreciated the help, even people who run food banks[20] see SNAP as the best way to help the hungry. In fact, in researching the history of SNAP[21] for an upcoming book, I found that the program long known as food stamps slowly replaced another program distributing surplus food to the needy in the 1960s. Government researchers found that giving families stamps to exchange for food in grocery stores was more efficient and effective. In 2019, 92% of SNAP[22] spending went directly to benefits. The program boosts the economy, leading to more consumer spending and jobs[23]. SNAP also provides nine meals[24] for every one meal supplied by Feeding America, the largest network of food banks. [Deep knowledge, daily. Sign up for The Conversation’s newsletter[25].] Almost 2,500 organizations[26] serving the poor are calling for increasing maximum SNAP benefits by 15%. This would help all families on SNAP – including the 40% with the lowest incomes who have not gotten additional help so far during the pandemic. The House passed relief legislation in May and October[27] that called for this 15% increase. As of late October, the Senate had not taken this step even though food insecurity has grown[28] substantially.

References

  1. ^ US$85.6 billion (fiscal.treasury.gov)
  2. ^ Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (theconversation.com)
  3. ^ fiscal year (www.senate.gov)
  4. ^ unemployment and poverty (theconversation.com)
  5. ^ unemployment insurance (www.dol.gov)
  6. ^ seven days (www.fns.usda.gov)
  7. ^ $80 billion (www.fns.usda.gov)
  8. ^ Great Recession (theconversation.com)
  9. ^ Treasury Department data (www.fiscal.treasury.gov)
  10. ^ Families First Coronavirus Response Act (www.congress.gov)
  11. ^ temporarily offered the maximum benefit (www.politico.com)
  12. ^ 5.3% increase (www.fns.usda.gov)
  13. ^ lines at food banks (www.kpax.com)
  14. ^ Farmers to Families Food Box (www.ams.usda.gov)
  15. ^ people facing economic hardship (www.npr.org)
  16. ^ $4 billion (www.ams.usda.gov)
  17. ^ criticized (agriculture.house.gov)
  18. ^ lawmakers (aboutbgov.com)
  19. ^ inefficient and poorly managed (thecounter.org)
  20. ^ people who run food banks (www.npr.org)
  21. ^ researching the history of SNAP (news.richmond.edu)
  22. ^ 92% of SNAP (fns-prod.azureedge.net)
  23. ^ leading to more consumer spending and jobs (theconversation.com)
  24. ^ nine meals (www.feedingamerica.org)
  25. ^ Sign up for The Conversation’s newsletter (theconversation.com)
  26. ^ 2,500 organizations (frac.org)
  27. ^ House passed relief legislation in May and October (appropriations.house.gov)
  28. ^ food insecurity has grown (www.wbap.com)

Authors: Tracy Roof, Associate Professor of Political Science, University of Richmond

Read more https://theconversation.com/snap-benefits-cost-a-total-of-85-6b-in-the-2020-fiscal-year-amid-heightened-us-poverty-and-unemployment-148077

Metropolitan republishes selected articles from The Conversation USA with permission

Visit The Conversation to see more

Entertainment News

SHERYL LEE RALPH PRESENTS THE 30TH ANNUAL DIVAS: SIMPLY SINGING UPDATE

DIVAS Simply Singing!, the longest consecutive running musical AIDS benefit in the United States, hits a major milestone in 2020, hosting its 30th annual fundraiser for The D.I.V.A. Foundation as a virtual event and on Saturday, December 5th on K...

News Co - avatar News Co

MICHAEL MESEY and AMERICAN GREED Release “Together”

“Together” As the go-to special show and traveling drummer for Chuck Berry for many years, Michael Mesey had a blast creating explosive moments on stage with the legendary musical pioneer all over the country. Yet one of his most cherished me...

News Co - avatar News Co

Actress Paris Hepburn Fights Through Covid Crisis

The entertainment industry has been hard hit in 2019 as we all know.  Since Covid-19 started entering the US in January 2019, one by one, movie studios, talent agencies, actors, crews and everything else associated with the entertainment industry...

News Co - avatar News Co

Why You Should Explore Your Creativity

You might think that you weren’t fortunate enough to be gifted at birth with creativity. You might say, “Oh, my brother got the creative genes, and I didn’t,” or “Why would I want to be creative”? Someone once asked me that last question, to whi...

Angela Predhomme - avatar Angela Predhomme

What does being the Happiness Warrior mean to me?

I’ve always felt I’ve had an innate need to set things right. If I see someone or something struggling, my nature is to help. I want them to feel good about themselves and their abilities but most importantly to find the best solution that make...

Eric North aka “The Happiness Warrior” - avatar Eric North aka “The Happiness Warrior”

THE WORLD OPERATES NOT ON REALITY, BUT ON PERCEPTION OF REALITY

Ben Kingsley's character Cosmo in the 1992 cult classic Sneakers prophetically quipped , The world doesn't operate on reality, but on perception of reality. Those words have come to roost in this year 2020 as we find ourselves living in a world ...

Brandyn Cross - avatar Brandyn Cross

Metropolitan Business News

5 Key Factors To Starting A Website

Every business needs a website to be successful. However, this is a challenge for many due to the lack of coding and designing skills. The good news is, you do have a way around this—hire a deve...

News Co - avatar News Co

So You Want To Be A Project Manager? Here's What You Must Do

Project management is often a popular choice for people looking to make a mark in the organizations they work for. It's a great choice as well. If you hate monotony, love getting people and res...

News Co - avatar News Co

How to Deliver the Perfect Elevator Pitch

Do you struggle with explaining your career with professional or personal contacts, and you want to make a lasting impression? Whether you're looking for a job or building up your network, a wel...

Adam Jacobs - avatar Adam Jacobs

Three Asian Countries That are Leaders in Outsourcing

Would it surprise you to know that three of the top five ranked countries for ease of doing business are in Asia? Would it surprise you more to know that India and China aren’t even in the top 3...

Adam Jacobs - avatar Adam Jacobs

FCB and oOh! help Kiwis vote with dynamic campaign for Electoral Commission

oOh!media and FCB NZ are helping Kiwi voters exercise their democratic rights this general election, via a localised dynamic Out of Home campaign for the New Zealand Electoral Commission. The c...

Lighthouse Communications. - avatar Lighthouse Communications.

MODEL/ACTOR THORN CASTILLO IS THE “NEW FACE” OF SCHICK STYLIST

In 2019, just as his multi-faceted career was taking off, Thorn Castillo heard Robert Downey Jr. offer a sage bit of advice during an interview on photographer/director Sam Jones’ acclaimed multi-...

News Company - avatar News Company

Writers Wanted


News Co Media Group

Content & Technology Connecting Global Audiences

More Information - Less Opinion