The Central Virginian

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Changes to new farm bill hit the gut–program cuts could hurt Louisa families

Posted on Wednesday, June 19, 2013 at 6:08 pm

quoteWith millions of people struggling to pay for food, housing, health and energy costs in today’s economy, both the Senate and the House Agricultural Committees are looking at issuing cuts in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as the Food Stamp Program. These cuts could eliminate food assistance to nearly two million low-income families.

In the 2013 Farm Bill comparisons, the Senate’s version would eliminate $4.1 billion over the next 10 years, with cuts largely from the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), also known as the  “heat-and-eat” program, and would change the eligibility for SNAP participation to ensure lottery winners are ineligible for SNAP benefits.

The House version slashes more than $20 billion from SNAP over the next 10 years and ends most LIHEAP payments. The House also proposes changing the eligibility for SNAP to ensure lottery winners, college students and undocumented immigrants are ineligible for SNAP benefits.

According to Food Research and Action Center (FRAC), SNAP is the cornerstone of the nation’s nutrition safety net, helping to put food on the table for more than 47 million low-income participants each month.

SNAP benefits average less than $1.50 per person per meal, making it difficult for recipients to afford an adequate and nutritious diet.

According to FRAC, 850,000 households, which include 1.7 million people, could lose $90 in SNAP benefits per month with the House proposal.

In Virginia, more than 73 percent of all SNAP participants are families with children, 31 percent are families with elderly or disabled members and almost 42 percent of participants are in working families.

To read the entire story, see the June 20 edition of The Central Virginian.