The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, also known as SNAP, is the most effective anti-hunger program in the United States. In 2022, the federal program helped an estimated 40 million people put food on the table during tough times.
For every meal the Feeding America network of 200 food banks provides, SNAP provides 9. SNAP benefits are delivered monthly through electronic benefits transfer (EBT) cards which can be used to purchase groceries at retailers nationwide.
Why SNAP works
- SNAP helps people with very low incomes:
- 2/3 of people who receive SNAP are kids, seniors, or people living with disabilities.
- SNAP helps families stretch their food budgets to alleviate hunger and buy healthier foods.
- SNAP helps support the local economy:
- Every $1 in SNAP benefits helps generate an estimated $1.50 in economic activity.
- SNAP is well-designed to respond quickly and effectively to support families and communities during times of increased need, expanding when the economy weakens and contracting as the economy recovers.
- In rural areas, SNAP boosts employment and reduces the poverty rate for families.
- SNAP promotes long-term health and well-being:
- Adult SNAP participants save an average of $1,400 per year in health care costs compared to non-participants.
SNAP and the Farm Bill
The Farm Bill determines SNAP's funding and structure. To keep SNAP strong, the 2023 Farm Bill must:
- Ensure SNAP's purchasing power remains strong so that benefits align with grocery prices and provide adequate support during tough economic times. This will decrease the need for charitable food assistance, helping to reduce the strain on food banks.
- Streamline SNAP eligibility and enrollment to improve access for older adults, college students, immigrants, and low-wage workers. Current eligibility rules and enrollment processes are complicated and confusing.
- Better assist individuals seeking employment. Congress can help SNAP participants find work by supporting effective state employment and training programs and ensuring people receive adequate SNAP benefits while job searching.
- Ensure equitable food assistance for U.S. territories. Congress should allow Puerto Rico and other U.S. territories to transition from capped Nutrition Assistance Program (NAP) block grants to full participation in SNAP.
- Ensure sovereignty for Native Communities. Congress should work with tribal stakeholders to strengthen food security in Native communities by allowing Tribal governments to administer federal programs and allowing SNAP participants to also receive Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR) benefits.