December 24, 2013

Data Show SNAP Supports Work
TODAY,Kevin Concannon, Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services, circulated the following OpEd posted TODAY by Huffington Post:

Everywhere I go, I hear stories of seniors, veterans, and the working poor who use the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). This includes returned servicemen and women who spent holidays away from their families, missing major milestones while abroad in service to their country; previous generations who have worked hard to build our American infrastructure brick by brick; and even people working in the service industry across the nation.

SNAP serves 900,000 veterans and nearly 3.8 million elderly adults each and every month. While 60 percent of SNAP recipients are not required to work, either because they are children, elderly, or disabled, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP), the vast majority of adults who are able and expected to work, want to work and do so.

These people all serve their country and its citizens in some capacity. They work hard to keep us safe and secure, to build a strong, sustainable economy, to put food on the table for their families. America is a better country for their service.

Historically, about 80% of the funds authorized by the Farm Bill go to the SNAP food stamp and other nutrition assurance program. About 15% of the funds are designated for farm commodity subsidies and crop insurance, with the rest going to food safety, conservation, rural development, renewable energy and other farm programs.
The 2013 Farm Bill may not contain funding for the SNAP program. Congress has been deliberating over passage of the Farm Bill with and without SNAP funding and passage of a stand-alone SNAP funding bill later in 2013, possibly with billions in SNAP cuts.

According to the CBPP's report, The Relationship Between SNAP and Work Among Low-Income Households (January 2013), SNAP’s primary purpose is to increase the food purchasing power of eligible low-income households in order to improve their nutrition and alleviate hunger and malnutrition.

The program’s success in meeting this core goal has been well documented. Less well understood is the fact that the program has become quite effective in supporting work and that its performance in this area has improved substantially in recent years.

The data also indicate that SNAP receipt does not create work disincentives. The overwhelming majority of non-disabled, working-age households that start receiving SNAP do not stop working. In the mid-2000s, only 4 percent of SNAP households that worked in the year before starting to receive SNAP did not work in the following year.

SNAP’s success in supporting work is not an accident. Through its basic structure and program rules, SNAP is designed to support work. It helps working households with low-incomes afford adequate nutrition during economic downturns. In addition, its performance in serving working families has improved in recent years, even during the recent deep recession and lagging economic recovery. Efforts at the federal, state, and local level to strengthen SNAP for working families have produced results.

Nonetheless, further improvements could be made. Despite hitting record high participation rates among eligible working households, one in three SNAP-eligible households with earnings fails to receive the help that is available in purchasing groceries. In addition, as the economy improves, states will be required to reinstate the program’s severe three-month time limit for unemployed childless adults — and most states will do so without producing an adequate number of work program slots for these adults — weakening the program’s ability to reach all otherwise eligible low- income households who are willing to work.


-Colleen Callahan,Senior Writer and Communication Specialist, Feeding America, Huffington Post

-The Relationship Between SNAP and Work Among Low-Income Households, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.


Feeding Americais the nation's fourth largest charity, according to Forbes Magazine.

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities is a non-partisan research and policy institute, which works at the federal and state levels on fiscal policy and public programs that affect low- and moderate-income families and individuals.