The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as Food Stamps, is a federal anti-hunger program that provides benefits to low-income households for purchasing food. In 2011, SNAP served 44.7 million individuals in an average month. SNAP is an "automatic stabilizer," meaning that its numbers of beneficiaries and amount of spending increase during tough economic times and decrease in times of economic prosperity. Unlike most other means tested programs, SNAP is broadly available to almost all households with low incomes regardless of age, disability, number of children or marital status. It also provides a modest amount of funding to support employment and training programs to help SNAP recipients obtain jobs that will reduce their need for SNAP benefits.
SNAP is reauthorized by Congress every five years as part of the Farm Bill. During the reauthorization process, Congress can address a number of issues including the amount of funding SNAP will receive to serve low-income households for the next five years. The current Farm Bill expired on September 30, 2012 and was finally extended until the end of September 2013 in the American Taxpayer Relief Act, which Congress passed on January 1, 2013. On January 22, 2013, Senator Reid introduced last year's Senate-passed Farm Bill. Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Stabenow has indicated that she is committed to convening a committee mark up on the bill to produce an updated version of the Farm Bill, which could then be substituted for the placeholder bill introduced by Senator Reid. The Farm Bill debate is expected to pick back up in the spring of 2013.
CLASP is working in coalition with many anti-hunger and anti-poverty organizations to fight for a Farm Bill that protects SNAP. Reauthorization of SNAP should:
- Protect funding for vital nutrition programs serving low-income families.
- Protect categorical eligibility, which streamlines the application process and allows states to raise the absurdly low asset limit used to determine eligibility.
MAY 13, 2012 I HELLY LEE AND LAVANYA MOHAN
Proposed SNAP Cuts Would Result in Millions of Empty Dinner Tables Summary of the Senate and House Agriculture Committee 2013 Farm Bill mark up versions that include funding provisions for SNAP.
MAR 20, 2012 I HELLY LEE AND LAVANYA MOHAN
SNAP Benefits in the Crosshairs of Debate on Spending A comparison of SNAP and Medicaid funding in the House and Senate budget resolutions.
MAR 13, 2012 I ELIZABETH LOWER-BASCH
SNAP, Medicaid Block Grants Would Weaken the Already-Fragile Safety Net The Ryan budget, which proposes block granting for SNAP and Medicaid, will not protect the safety net as it claims.
JUL 13, 2012 I ELIZABETH LOWER-BASCH and PATRICK REIMHERR
Does the House Really Care About Work Incentives? A summary of the House Ways and Means Committee hearing on "implicit tax rates" wherein Congressional members focused on steeper cliffs rather than effective work incentives.
JUL 10, 2012 I HELLY LEE
House Proposes Deep Cuts to SNAP in Farm Bill A summary of the possible cuts to SNAP introduced through the Farm Bill and updates on the status of it.
JUn 14, 2012 I HELLY LEE
Senate Rejects SNAP Block Grant; Challenges Remain Background on and update to the SNAP cuts introduced and passed through the Senate Farm Bill.
may 25, 2012 I HELLY LEE
House Farm Bill Must Protect Nutrition Assistance CLASP explains the need to preserve the SNAP program, which is facing cuts under the Farm Bill.
MAY 17, 2012 I HELLY LEE
What if Determining Eligibility for SNAP was as Easy as Buying a Book Online? The paper explains how data sharing and eligibility decisions based on existing information can cut costs -- especially during a time when Congress is considering bills that would restrict access to benefits.
MAY 09, 2012 I HELLY LEE
House Priorities about Protecting Defense Spending at Expense of Low Income Families While trying to agree on deficit reduction plans, the House Budget Committee has proposed deep automatic cuts, or sequestration, on programs vital to low-income working families and communities.
APR 24, 2012 I ELIZABETH LOWER-BASCH
Helping Vulnerable Americans Put Dinner on the Table, the SNAP Program Needs Citizen Support A description of the differences in proposed SNAP cuts in the Senate and House Farm Bills and why citizens should support the SNAP program during the current political and budgetary climate.
APR 13, 2012 I ELIZABETH LOWER-BASCH AND ELIZABETH KENEFICK
Even More Reasons to Celebrate SNAP The USDA analyzes data and confirms that the SNAP program lifts millions out of poverty.
MAR 20, 2012 I ELIZABETH LOWER-BASCH
In Orwellian Fashion, Ryan Budget ‘Repairs' Safety Net by Slashing It This article describes Chairman Paul Ryan’s proposal to cut Medicaid and SNAP programs even though no significant savings can be achieved.
FEB 07, 2012 I DREW HAVERLY
The True Impact of Food Stamps Despite the media’s mischaracterization, the SNAP program effectively helps low-income families and also boosts local growth.
DEC 21, 2010
SNAP Employment and Training This brief by the Annie E. Casey Foundation describes an integrated service delivery model to support a variety of education, training, employment and related services for SNAP recipients.
View all CLASP publications on Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).