Feeding America today released a new analysis estimating the impact that significant cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, commonly known as food stamps) will have at the county and state level. The cuts are effective November 1 and will affect all 47 million SNAP participants.
Nationally, about $5 billion in food assistance will be lost in fiscal year 2014, which translates into nearly 1.9 billion lost meals for low-income families. The number of meals lost from the SNAP cuts is equivalent to more than half of the annual meal distribution by Feeding America's national network of food banks. That means that the Feeding America network would have to increase its output by half in order to make up for lost SNAP meals in 2014, which is simply not possible.
As food banks brace for the expected increase in need, Feeding America released a local-level analysis of how individual counties will be impacted by the SNAP cuts. Using the number of SNAP participants by county, the analysis estimates the total dollar value of SNAP benefit cuts and the number of lost meals that each county can expect to see over a one-month and 12-month period. Individual food banks will use this analysis to better understand the impact on their service areas as they try to prepare for increased demand.
County-level impacts over the next 12 months range from a loss of $432 in SNAP benefits in Cook County, Minnesota to a high of $134 million in lost SNAP benefits in Los Angles County, California.
Some states do not report county-level participation data so county-level estimates are not available for all states.
Congress is considering even deeper cuts to SNAP as part of the farm bill. In September, the House of Representatives approved a bill with $40 billion in SNAP cuts, which would result in over 15 billion lost meals for struggling families over the next ten years.
House and Senate negotiators met formally for the first time on Oct. 30. Feeding America and its network of food banks are calling on Congress to protect SNAP from further cuts.
How to Use the Community Impact Calculator:
1. Choose your geographic area. You may look up the impact of the SNAP ARRA cuts by county or by state.
2. Choose how you want to quantify impact. The impact of the SNAP cuts is represented in two ways: the total dollar value of SNAP benefits lost for all SNAP participants and the total number of meals lost for all SNAP participants in that geographic area.
3. Choose your time frame. The impact of the SNAP cuts on lost benefits and lost meals is provided as either a one-month or 12-month average.
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