Network faithful are encouraged to read an enlightening report from the Brookings Institute on the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP).The report addresses the impact of cutting SNAP funds on children and families. Read the report and increase your knowledge:
- From the report: Recent policy debate around SNAP has focused on the program’s provision of benefits to able-bodied adults without dependents, more commonly referred to as ABAWDs. In particular, there is concern among some policymakers and observers that the program is too generous and may serve as a disincentive to work. However, the characterization of SNAP as a program that discourages work on a wide scale for childless adults is not well-founded for several reasons. First, nearly nine out of ten SNAP recipients live in a home with at least one child, one disabled individual, or one elderly individual. Second, SNAP simply does not provide enough benefits to support a comfortable life without work. In periods of normal labor markets, most adults can only receive three months of benefits every three years if they are unemployed. Even then, the average benefit is less than $1.40 per meal—hardly enough to entice a worker to forego employment. Finally, many Americans rely on SNAP as a temporary support system when income is low, not as a permanent benefit. In any given year, most Americans will not participate in SNAP—prior to the Great Recession, participation rates peaked at 11.6 percent. But, about half of Americans will rely on SNAP at some point between the ages of twenty and sixty-five.
Food insecurity and obesity are just two of the many struggles endured by low-income families in America, including those living in poverty at a given moment in time and those in the lower-middle class, often on the edge of poverty. On December 4th, The Hamilton Project will release three new papers and host a forum to highlight challenges faced by struggling lower-middle-class families.
The first panel in the forum will focus on a new proposal by Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach of Northwestern University to strengthen SNAP. Schanzenbach makes the case for protecting and maintaining existing budget resources and also offers five reforms that could strengthen SNAP, including incentives for healthier foods to promote better nutrition and a number of changes to the benefit formula.
A second panel will feature a new proposal by Melissa Kearney and Lesley Turner of the University of Maryland for a secondary-earner tax deduction targeted at lower-income, dual-earning families with children in order to help “make work pay.”
- Read the full report here.