MEDIA RELEASE: More than 1.7 million North Carolinians to see a cut in food assistance beginning today

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program cuts will impact nearly 47 million people, including 22 million children nationwide

RALEIGH (November 1, 2013) — Beginning today, more than 1.7 million people in North Carolina will see their food assistance benefits cut, when a temporary boost to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as food stamps) expires.

All of the more than 47 million Americans who receive SNAP — including 22 million children — will see their food assistance reduced when a modest boost in benefits ends to SNAP recipients. The boost was included in the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to strengthen the economy and ease hardship. For a family of three in North Carolina, that cut will mean a reduction of $29 each month. This is a serious loss for families whose benefits, after this cut, will average less than $1.40 per person per meal. This is a $166 million cut in SNAP benefits in North Carolina from November 2013 to September 2014.

“This small increase in SNAP benefits has provided an important stepping stone for more than 1.7 million struggling families in North Carolina during the deep economic recession and long recovery," said Alexandra Forter Sirota, director of the Budget & Tax Center, a project of the NC Justice Center. "It has empowered them to keep food on the table as they seek employment, send their children off to school, and get themselves back on their feet."

North Carolina has one of the country’s highest levels of food insecurity.  Nearly 1 in 6 households have difficulty putting food on the table and meeting the most basic need that helps children grow and learn, and provides the fuel for an active and productive life as an adult. SNAP fights hunger and is well-targeted, with children making up nearly half of the recipients in North Carolina. Of those that will feel the sting of the SNAP cuts in our state, an estimated 758,000 are children, 285,000 are older adults and people with disabilities, and more than 50,000 are veterans.

On top of the cuts going into effect today, the U.S. House of Representatives recently passed legislation cutting $40 billion from SNAP, potentially eliminating assistance for at least 1.7 million people in North Carolina and nearly 4 million nationwide. The legislation would provide strong financial incentives for states to reduce their caseloads, making it significantly harder for struggling families to put food on the table, and would eliminate assistance for some of the poorest Americans. In fact, roughly 165,000 North Carolinians would lose this nutritional support under this proposal.

The House-passed plan for SNAP coupled with today’s cuts would deal a significant blow to millions of Americans who continue to struggle to make ends meet as the economy continues to slowly recover.

“SNAP has been a powerful tool in helping to keep families out of poverty during the long economic recession and recovery,” Sirota said. “Congress should not further reduce this already modest assistance to struggling families who after today’s cuts will have even less ability to keep food on the table.”

Further information on the cuts can be found at www.ncdhhs.gov/dss/foodstamp/ and in SNAP Benefits Will Be Cut for All Participants in November 2013, a report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT: Alexandra Forter Sirota, alexandra@ncjustice.org, 919.861.1468; Jeff Shaw, Director of Communications, jeff@ncjustice.org, 503.551.3615 (cell).
 

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