Saturday, August 10, 2013

Is Your Neighbor one of the 442,000 New Mexicans Who WIll Lose SNAP Benefits this Fall?

More than 442,000 New Mexicans, including 215,000 children, stand to lose SNAP benefits this Fall.  And the loss of food stamps does not have anything to do with the pending decision on Congress on implementing deep cuts in SNAP as part of (or parallel to) the 2013 Farm Bill.

Shortly after the recession of 2007-2008, Congress approved a federal stimulus bill that helped many families around the country cope  with the economic crisis. And according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, this assistance saved as a lifeline for many families around the country.

SNAP has responded effectively to the recession. SNAP caseloads increased significantly between late 2007 and 2011, as the recession and lagging recovery battered the economic circumstances of millions of Americans and dramatically increased the number of low-income households who qualified and applied for help from the program. SNAP enrollment growth slowed in 2012, however, as the economy began to recover. In addition, the 2009 Recovery Act increased SNAP benefits as a way of delivering economic stimulus. Policymakers deemed SNAP to be effective for this purpose because of its broad reach among low-income populations and its high efficiency.  Read full piece
That federal stimulus is set to expire this fall, which would reduce food-stamp assistance for 47 million of our neighbors.  Roughly 442,000 of the total population affected by the expiration of the stimulus are our neighbors here in New Mexico. This includes about 42% (215,000) of the children residing in our state.

“The small increase in SNAP benefits that was included in the federal stimulus bill has helped thousands of struggling families in New Mexico stay afloat during the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression,” Dr. Veronica C. García, Ed.D., executive director of New Mexico Voices for Children, said in an article posted by the KOAT-TV site. “This modest assistance is providing a lifeline to those parents who are struggling to find work, or are working at jobs that do not pay them enough to put food on the table.”

So how do you measure the impact of the cuts?  According to Garcia,  for a family of three, the cuts will mean a reduction of $29 a month. “Given the fact that SNAP benefits are already inadequate for many families, these cuts will be particularly painful,” said García. 

Living on SNAP without the cuts is already difficult proposition.  Just ask the members of Congress who took the SNAP Challenge, including Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham.

Congress, President Obama: The ball is in your court.

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