Food Stamp Data Still Up in the Air for November

Kelly Cooke
Published Jan 2, 2024



The program once simply known as "food stamps" has changed a lot over the course of the past few years. Today, it is known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and these benefits are doled out to qualified citizens via the Electronic Benefits Transfer card (EBT). All the way back in January of this year, 37 states joined up with the Emergency Allotment (EA) program in order to give SNAP recipients more monthly money on their EBT cards. As of this November, residents of 16 of those states have received the bad news that the EA program has been dropped, and no one is really certain how their SNAP benefits will play out through the month of November.

Every month leading into November, information was made widely available at the very start of the month. People on SNAP knew if they would be receiving increases, and also the exact amount to which they were entitled. As of Nov 4, however, many states still aren't sure how they're going to handle the residents drawing welfare. No one is being thrown off of the roles, of course, but increases are being denied, and at a time when grocery prices are at historic highs. These state governments are unsure if they want to increase SNAP through their state budgets or find something akin to the EA program to join. All that's certain is that many states are opting out of the EA program.

Some states are saying that the EA program has simply run its course. It was a program designed to help people draw the full amount of eligible SNAP benefits, not a program to help people receive more than the maximum. However, that's precisely what it was doing for millions of Americans; it was increasing their overall grocery budget, and for a time it stood out as one of the only government assistance programs in America that was functioning well and actually helping people. The issue, however, as reported by Jasyon Lusk earlier on social media, is that 2022's SNAP recipients have doubled in number compared to 2021. States are so panicked that people may be gaming the system that many are running away from additional assistance.

Technically speaking, the Social Security Administration (SSA) is supposed to offer up a cost of living increase for all people on government benefits. Though after earmarking tens of billions of dollars for immigrants entering into America illegally, the SSA didn't really give a full and thorough accounting of people's needs in America, and so the increases in food stamps fell to other government agencies to handle. As a result, SNAP was running better than it had in years, and millions of Americans were able to shop for their own food with dignity rather than relying on food banks.

However, this is the United States, after all, and so it was only a matter of time before the government fouled things up and re-introduced people to unnecessary suffering. This is precisely where SNAP is at in November; a bunch of people are suffering now due to many states deciding to run away from the EA program.
 

Things Had Been Going Well for SNAP



One of the most unfortunate things about so many states backing out of increased SNAP benefits is that things had been going very well for the food stamps program since the beginning of 2022. Yes, the government was spending an awful lot of money to increase people's SNAP benefits, but that's the least the government could do for Americans. After all, it was the federal government that forced 80% of businesses to close, and thus cost tens of millions of Americans their livelihood. It was the government that did that, not the pandemic. The government also flooded the American economy with trillions of newly minted dollars, driving the rates of inflation up astronomically, which has resulted in the highest food prices in America's history. Again, it was the government that did that. The American people did not lend their votes to these initiatives, nor did they have a say in them. So it's very disturbing to think that America had one good program that was truly helping people, and now state governments are blowing it up.

As of right now, 16 separate states have backed out of the EA program, causing millions of Americans to lose increased benefits. Come December, more will drop out, and by 2023, the entire program may be defunct.

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