Food stamps, known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program in Farm Bill language, will be one of the more contentious items up for debate during the upcoming Farm Bill Conference between the House and Senate. The Senate version of the Farm Bill would reduce about $4 billion of food stamp spending over 10 years, but the House version aims to cut a much larger $40 billion over the same period.
But before any of this conversation takes place, millions of food stamp recipients will see their benefits reduced starting November 1, the result of the expiration of a temporary increase in food stamp benefits that Congress put in place with the economic stimulus package in 2008. It is estimated that a family of four will receive $36 less per month, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Anti-hunger groups are concerned about the impact of the drop-off and food banks and pantries expect to see a surge in already rising requests for help once monthly SNAP benefits are automatically reduced.
“According to USDA reports, SNAP recipients spend between 10 percent and 12 percent of their food budget on dairy products,” said Ruth Saunders, IDFA vice president for policy and legislative affairs.
The upcoming reduction will mean immediate adjustments for many SNAP recipients. But in the longer term, SNAP recipients potentially face even bigger changes under the House farm bill.
House and Senate conferees plan to begin formal talks next week, said Saunders.
Read the USDA reports here.