House of Representatives this week voted to cut 39 billion (over 10 years) from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Their bill needs to go to a compromising committee with the Senate to work out the many differences. If they can agree on a the terms before the end of the month they can pass the Farm Bill. If not, the Farm Bill will revert to it’s original 1949 language. That would be a lose-lose situation for all of us. The NY 23rd has discussed SNAP and the Farm Bill earlier in an article that describes the background of the Farm Bill (from the House Republican Conference) and an article about the Farm Bill the House passed without SNAP.
How important is SNAP to our district? The following chart was created with data from the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance website. This web site is over thirty pages long. If you go there to check for more data, the SNAP data can generally be found on Table 16. This agency has monthly data for SNAP usage and benefits by county. I chose to compare the June data for the counties in the NY 23rd congressional district for the past 5 years. Why June? That is the most recent month that they have data for. The first column is the total amount of benefits the clients received for that month. I included the number of people who received benefits for that month. I did not included how many ‘Households’ received benefits, but you can easily find that data on the website.
What I found out:
- In June, 2009, the district had 84,945 people benefiting from SNAP.
- In June, 2013, the district had 109,935 people benefiting from SNAP. That’s an 29% increase from 2009.
- The total amount of benefits in June, 2013 was $14,177,845.
- The average daily benefit was $4.30 per person.
Over $14 million dollars flowed into our district’s economy that month. That’s more than $170 million in a year. $4.30 per day is not a lot of money. That turns out to be $129 a month. Remember that the S in SNAP is Supplemental. The House bill had a work clause, or as the title of the bill states “Work Opportunity”. Many people don’t realize that most SNAP households have at least one working member:
According to the Snap To Health website, “In 2010, more than three times as many SNAP households had members who were employed as compared to those who relied solely on SNAP benefits for food. With high unemployment rates in America today, the number of households on SNAP that also have at least one working family member has steadily increased over the last two decades.”
This chart shows me that SNAP affects many people in our district. The $4.30 a day supplemental income may mean the difference between Macaroni and Cheese, and an healthy dinner.