Issue #13, April 4, 2016
Quote of the Week
Many thousands of jobless adults without dependents will lose all their SNAP benefits even though they are seeking work.
Ellen Vollinger, The New York Times, April 1, 2016
SNAP Time Limits Reinstated
Thousands Could Lose Food Stamps as States Restore Pre-Recession Requirements – The New York Times, April 1, 2016
The poet T.S. Eliot described April as “the cruelest month,” and for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients losing their benefits beginning April 1 due to reinstated time limits, the description is appropriate, according to Ellen Vollinger, legal director at the Food Research & Action Center (FRAC). “Many thousands of jobless adults without dependents will lose all their SNAP benefits even though they are seeking work,” said Vollinger.
More Than 500,000 Americans Stand to Lose SNAP Benefits – CityLab, March 30, 2016
It’s estimated that half a million people will lose their SNAP benefits beginning April 1, as time limits for SNAP participation take effect for unemployed adults not working or enrolled in a job training or community service program for at least 20 hours a week. However, jobs remain scarce for many, and a large number of community service opportunities are filled to capacity. These Americans will turn to food banks for assistance, but they are designed as emergency measures. “We don’t have the resources to take on the continued erosion of our safety net,” said Triada Stampas, vice president for research and policy affairs at the Food Bank for New York City.
Thousands of Missourians may lose food stamps – The Fulton Sun, March 28, 2016
Nearly 30,000 Missourians could lose food stamps starting in April, unless they work at least 20 hours per week, part of the time-limit requirement that unfairly affects those who work varying hours. “There are a lot of jobs [where] the employees don’t get 20 hours per week like they need,” said Glenn Koenen, Hunger Task Force chair at Empower Missouri. “Those people are going to lose food stamps even though they are still working.” Many of these people will turn to already-struggling food pantries for help. The pantries may “cut food to some people or stretch supplies so they can get food to these people who don’t have anywhere else to turn,” said Koenen.
SNAP Block Grant Proposal
Block grants can be the ‘poisoned chalice’ of social policy – The Washington Post, March 28, 2016
Although Congressional conservatives say block grants give states the flexibility to “tailor their individual programs to address the diverse needs of their communities,” in reality they are a tactic to cut spending, often for families in need, writes Jared Bernstein, former chief economist to Vice President Biden, and a senior fellow at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, in this op-ed. SNAP is not administered as a block grant, which makes its federal funds flexible and able to meet the increased needs of people during recessions, and the program was much more responsive during the last recession than Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), which was changed to a block grant program in the 1996 welfare reform bill.
Letter: SNAP should be strengthened, not dismantled – The Herald News, March 23, 2016
SNAP and other nutrition programs improve the health of participating children, help them do better in school and pave the way for “increased economic opportunities later in life,” writes Tara Williams in this letter to the editor. She urges Congress to “immediately reject any proposals to cut or restructure nutrition programs, and instead invest [in] making sure no American goes hungry.”
SD lags in food-assistance enrollment – San Diego Reader, March 28, 2016
An estimated 30.7 percent of SNAP-eligible households in San Diego are enrolled in SNAP (called CalFresh in California), while the statewide average enrollment is 37.2 percent, according to a recent report by the Public Policy Institute of California. San Diego County ranked 42nd out of 58 counties in the state for SNAP enrollment, although this is an improvement over 2010, when the county ranked 55th out of 58 for enrolling only 26.5 percent of eligible households. Increased SNAP enrollment brings more federal money into the region.
Mental health tops list of hunger’s health costs – Bread for the World, March 29, 2016
A recent Bread for the World Institute study estimates that hunger costs the U.S. at least $160 billion in poor health outcomes and additional healthcare expenses – and about half of these hunger health costs ($78.7 billion) were due to depression, anxiety or suicide. “Safety-net programs like...SNAP...are proven, powerful anti-poverty tools that keep those costs from skyrocketing,” writes the institute’s Derek Schwabe in this editorial. He concludes by noting it’s time to cut these costs “by...strengthening investments in proven hunger-fighting policy tools like SNAP.”
Stretching the Clock and Enhancing the Food Aisles Make for Better Eating in Tribal Nations – USDA Blog, March 29, 2016
A collaboration between the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the state of South Dakota, and Pine Ridge School will increase the number of students receiving afterschool meals in the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation of the Oglala Sioux Tribe. Currently, up to 150 students receive meals in the evening. In January, CACFP began providing reimbursement for the meals. It’s estimated that through CACFP, up to 300 to 350 children will begin receiving the free meals.
Poverty and Financial Hardshp
Poverty rate jumps among California seniors – Sacramento Bee, March 26, 2016
A Sacramento Bee review of U.S. census data found that the number of seniors age 65 and older living in poverty in California increased 85 percent to about 520,000 between 1999 and 2014. These seniors are mostly single, often minorities, and a large majority are women. “The average 70-year-old today has fewer assets because of the recession and typically is less likely to have retirement income than their counterparts 15 years ago,” said Gary Passmore, director of the Congress of California Seniors.
Poverty and Disability in America Matter – The Huffington Post, March 28, 2016
Michael Morris, executive director of National Disability Institute, writes in this op-ed that “25 years after the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), adults with disabilities are twice as likely to live in poverty as those without a disability.” The poverty disparity rate between people with disabilities and without grows with age, and women with disabilities and people of color with disabilities are more likely to be living in poverty. Morris concludes by noting that the safety net of public benefits, including food assistance, “should not deny people the right to save and build assets.”
Caregivers of people with dementia face financial hardships – Associated Press, March 30, 2016
A survey recently released by the Alzheimer’s Association reports that about one in five relatives and friends providing financial help or caregiving to people with dementia go hungry because they don’t have enough money. In addition, many have turned to their retirement savings, cut back on spending, and sold assets to pay for disease-related expenses.