The 2018 Farm Bill, which is being negotiated in Congress, sets national U.S. policy for agriculture and food. Included in this document are policies regarding SNAP benefits, otherwise known as “food stamps.” This Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program provides funds to the poorest Americans to help them feed themselves and their families. The amount of SNAP benefits received is based upon income and family size, but in no way provides enough funds to feed a family in full. (The average monthly benefit for a family of 4 is $456) These funds supplement other income and help families and individuals make ends meet. On average, SNAP benefits only last 3 weeks in a given month, leaving food banks to pick up the slack.
While the bill passed by the Senate did not cut SNAP benefits, the bill passed by the House would take benefits away 174 million meals from Virginians over the next ten years. In essence, the proposed bill attempts to “balance the budget on the backs of the poorest Americans.”
Why are SNAP benefits helpful to all of us, including those who do not even receive them? You can learn more about the program here.
You can also read more about the Federation’s position on the proposed SNAP work requirements here.
The best way for you to take action now is to encourage your member of Congress to visit their local food bank and learn more about hunger in Virginia. You can do so by visiting Feeding America’s Action Center.