No matter how much you keep up with the proper paperwork, maintain your records with your caseworker, or try to maintain your food stamp benefits there are times when food stamps may be denied.
There is a lot of controversy over the new Farm Bill, which has changed multiple times and at one point in time seemed like it would help out food stamp recipients. Now, the bill has changed, and it actually looks like the Farm Bill is proposing monumental cuts to the program that helps over 45 million Americans eat on a daily basis. This is only one portion of the bill that would cut $4 billion from the food stamp program. There's another part to the Farm Bill that would not adequately protect southern farmers, because of a focus on insurance. So just what is this Farm Bill actually doing?
Brett Kincaid, the Outreach Director for the Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families, shed some light on what's going on with this bill and why it is so devastating for Americans.
"The average household takes less than $300 a month in SNAP benefits…at any given time we're looking at 250,000 children in the state of Arkansas, using or benefiting from SNAP," said Kincaid. While Kincaid supports the bill in the Senate, he stated that the bill in the House plans to cut even more from SNAP.
"This is not a program where people are doing things they wouldn't typically do. This is to make sure that children and families have basic needs and that they are able to spend money in other programs that help keep them out of poverty," stated Kincaid.
The Senate has a version which calls for $4.49 billion in cuts from SNAP funding nationwide. U.S. Senator John Boozman, Republican, stated that reducing the farm bill will cut the federal deficit by at least $23 billion, including the reform for SNAP.
The cuts listed on the Farm Bill are the only reason that it's being held up in Congress. The bill is causing quite a controversy between supporters and denouncers, some who believe that the GOP is behind the cuts. However, there are those who have voted against the bill including Republican Senator Pat Roberts. The other problem is that both proposals in the House and Senate differ from the President's proposal. There is still much work to be done on all sides.
The House bill would call for the food stamp program to be block granted to the states, which would mean massive spending cuts. Not only that, but the bill would cost farmers $20 billion in direct income from cuts to the program as well. The bill will not go through a final vote until after the election, plenty of time to find a common ground hopefully between all parties.
It's important to understand that as Congress makes these moves to cut programs that are benefiting millions of Americans, that we have a voice and can advocate for food stamp funding. The program is an essential assistance for many families and individuals who have nothing else to get them through the month.