New Report: Supporting Families, Strengthening Communities – The Economic Importance of Nutrition Assistance

AURN – April Ryan reports on Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) LISTEN

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Office of the Press Secretary
November 26, 2013

New Report: Supporting Families, Strengthening Communities – The Economic Importance of Nutrition Assistance

You can view the full report HERE.

Today, as Americans across the country prepare to celebrate Thanksgiving, the White House released a new report highlighting the importance of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), which helps millions of Americans put food on the table. SNAP, which has been authorized in bipartisan fashion in the Farm Bill for decades, has been one of our nation’s strongest defenses against hunger and poverty while also benefitting farm and rural economies. While the President’s budget protects this vital program, legislation passed by House Republicans would make deep, harmful cuts that would make it harder for millions of Americans who are already struggling to put food on the table. Among the findings of the report are the following:

In 2012, SNAP kept nearly 5 million people out of poverty, including 2.2 million children.

  • SNAP reduced child poverty by 3.0 percentage points in 2012 – the largest child poverty impact of any safety net program other than refundable tax credits.
  • Over 91 percent of SNAP benefits go to households with income below the poverty line, and 55 percent go to households with income of less than half of the poverty line (about $9,500 for a family of three).
  • As the economic recovery continues and fewer people are in need of food assistance, the independent Congressional Budget Office projects SNAP participation and spending to fall significantly.

Program benefits are targeted to those most in need, and designed to support work.

  • The large majority of SNAP participants are children, the elderly, or people with disabilities. Additionally, nearly one million veterans receive SNAP assistance each month.
  • SNAP has very low overhead: about 95 percent of federal spending on SNAP goes directly to subsidizing the food purchases of eligible households.
  • Most SNAP recipients who can work do so. Among SNAP households with at least one working-age, non-disabled adult, more than half work – and more than 80% work in the year before or after receiving SNAP.

In addition to helping American families during tough economic times, SNAP provides a fiscal boost to the economy.

  • The non-partisan CBO rated an increase in SNAP benefits as one of the two most cost-effective methods for boosting growth and jobs when the economy is weak.
  • Every new SNAP dollar generates up to $1.80 in economic activity for the over 230,000 retail food outlets that participate in the program.

Legislation passed by House Republicans would result in nearly 4 million Americans losing access to SNAP next year, including working families with children, seniors, and veterans.

  • In addition, 210,000 children in these families would also lose free school meals.
  • These cuts would come on top of the significant benefit reduction experienced by all SNAP recipients, including 22 million children, at the start of this month.


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