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Change in NJ SNAP "Food Stamp" Program Concern Local Hunger Organizations

Bad news is on the horizon for nearly 1 million New Jerseyans who participate in the federal food assistance program known as SNAP (formerly called food stamps). The low-income families and individuals, about half of which are children, will see a cut in benefits November 1, 2013, when a temporary boost to the program expires. The result is that for a family of three SNAP benefits will drop by $29 a month a serious loss for struggling families whose benefits, after this cut, will average less than $1.40 per meal.

SNAP is important because it helps people when they need help. During this recession, more than 47 million Americans are relying on the program for the most basic necessity: food. Nearly 72% of SNAP participants are in families with children, more than one-quarter are in households with senior citizens or people with disabilities and many are working in low-paying jobs.

The upcoming benefit reduction would pale in comparison to the very real threat to the SNAP program coming from the U. S. House of Representatives, which is proposing to essentially dismantle federal food assistance with a $40 billion ut.

Food Stamp Discussions Require Attention

The Health Impact Project recently conducted a comprehensive, nonpartisan, scientific analysis of the potential health effects of the proposed changes. They found:

  • SNAP has large and long-term influences on health, especially through its impact on food insecurity, or difficulty getting enough to eat.
  • Under the proposed changes to SNAP eligibility, the U.S. poverty rate would increase by just over a half a percent. This would translate into a growth in government and private-sector medical costs of nearly $15 billion over 10 years.
  • As many as 5.1 million people would lose SNAP eligibility, among these would be 1.4 million children and 900,000 seniors.

We hope that you will join us in advocating for the continuation, without cuts, of this very important nutrition program. To find and contact your local congressman please click here.

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By LEE SEGLEM, Member of TASK Board of Trustees

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