Restoring SNAP Benefit Boosts

In 2010 Congress passed two bills that paid for investments in other priorities by prematurely sunsetting boosts to SNAP benefits that had been provided under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA). First in 2010, it passed a bill that included aid to states and funding for teachers’ salaries and FMAP (Medicaid) and cut the SNAP benefit boosts off effective April 1, 2014; later in 2010 it passed a bill to reauthorize Child Nutrition programs that cut off the SNAP benefit boosts effective November 1, 2013.

As a result of the changes, the Congressional Budget Office estimated that the initial drop in monthly SNAP benefits will be between $10 and $15 per person—approximately a 10% reduction in average per person benefits. See Reducing SNAP (Food Stamp) Benefits Provided by the ARRA:  P.L. 111-226 & S. 3307, Congressional Research Service,Aug. 20, 2010 (pdf).

At the time he signed the Child Nutrition legislation, President Obama committed to work with congressional leaders to fix the SNAP contained in that bill.  Since then, in his FY 2012 Budget the President has followed through and proposed continuing the ARRA SNAP boosts until April 1, 2014.

Hunger, food insecurity, joblessness, and poverty are signficant problems affecting large numbers of people in the U.S. and are expected to persist at unacceptably high levels. In 2010, SNAP, with its ARRA benefit boosted levels, lifted 3.9 million people out of poverty. It is more important than ever to restore ARRA SNAP benefit boosts and otherwise SNAP benefit levels to get people the resources they need to obtain an adequate diet throughout the month.