The 2009 Recovery Act’s temporary boost in SNAP benefits ended on November 1, which means a benefit cut for each of the nearly 48 million SNAP recipients nationwide-87% of whom live in households with children, seniors, or people with disabilities.
The impact will be significant, with households experiencing a 10% decrease in benefits. On the surface, that might not seem like a lot. But a household of three, such as a mother with two children, will lose $29 a month, the equivalent of 16 meals a month for a family of three based on the cost of the USDA’s “Thrifty Food Plan.”
The SNAP benefit cut will make it even harder for families to put food on their table. More than 80% of SNAP households live below the Federal poverty line, and more than 40% live below half of the poverty line (deep poverty). The temporary increase of benefits as part of the Recovery Act helped put food on the table, but these families will soon face food insecurities that will make meal time increasingly difficult.
How does South Carolina fare? Over the next twelve months, the state will lose $93 million in benefits, impacting 875,000 residents, or 18% of the state’s population. Nearly half of the state’s recipients are children under the age of 18, who will see a cut of $66 million in benefits. Sixteen percent of the state’s recipients are seniors or people living with disabilities, who will see a $17 million cut in benefits.
The SNAP cuts come at the same time as the House and Senate Agriculture Committees begin their negations on the Farm Bill, which includes a reauthorization of and proposed cuts to SNAP. With so many residents in our state dependent on SNAP to provide food and nutrition for their families, let’s hope that the Federal government considers their needs and limitations before making any recommendations to SNAP funding.