Danielle Neal (intern)
March 18, 2018

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program a Critical Poverty-Reduction Tool

This post was last updated on September 29, 2021. As new policies are announced, FPI will update this page.

As Florida’s response to COVID-19 takes front and center, concern grows for low-income families who struggle to take precautions against the spread of the virus. Although Congress has passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act to address, at least in part,  the public health crisis and economic fallout from COVID-19, many barriers continue to keep struggling families from accessing the assistance they need during the pandemic. As Florida initiates policies implementing the Act and addressing other barriers to the safety net, FPI will update this form. When available, hyperlinks are provided to agency documents or statements that provide greater detail  about the new policy.

On March 22, 2020, FPI and 44 other organizations sent a letter to Governor DeSantis, leadership in the Legislature and agency heads to urge action on 47 specific policy changes to reduce unnecessary barriers for Florida’s safety net programs in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. See the letter here.

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is the most important anti-hunger program in the nation. A powerful anti-poverty tool that provides nutritional assistance for low income families, SNAP helped at least 40 million families nationwide afford nutritionally adequate meals in 2017 alone. While nearly 60 percent of SNAP recipients in Florida are families with children, it is important to note that SNAP also assists families that include senior citizens and persons with disabilities, as well as low income families without children.

With 12.7 percent of Floridians reporting that they are “food insecure,” according to a 2016 study, the SNAP program is undoubtedly an important resource for low-income Floridians. In fact, 17 percent of Florida’s population received assistance from SNAP in 2016, which in turn kept 513,000 of our Floridian friends and neighbors out of poverty.

Not only does SNAP ensure Americans are able to afford nutritional meals, but it also acts as an effective economic stimulus in times of recession. In communities where money is tight, SNAP acts to put money into eligible families’ pockets. In turn, the families who use SNAP benefits deposit the investments into local economies. The Congressional Budget Office has actually found that SNAP has one of the highest bangs-for-the-buck among similar policies, increasing the economic activity and employment per budgetary dollar spent.

In the Administration’s proposed 2019 budget, SNAP benefits are cut by more than $213 billion over the next 10 years, which would be harmful to many struggling families in Florida, and the United States at large. An estimated 34 million would be affected by the proposed cuts; these are 34 million vulnerable individuals who rely on the SNAP program to access nutritional meals. In addition to budget cuts for SNAP at large, the proposed budget also includes a cut of both benefits and eligibility, which would cause 4 million people to lose their assistance altogether.

The Florida Policy Institute opposes the Administration’s proposed cut, and stands with SNAP and the good work it does for our communities.

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