The Center for Hunger-Free Communities

Solutions Based on Science and the Human Experience

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

SNAP (formerly the Food Stamp Program) is the most important resource to help families facing hunger. SNAP provides low-income households with funds to purchase groceries each month, which provides a powerful economic boost for local communities. A household's SNAP benefit is based on their income and expenses, including rent, utilities, and child care expenses.

Accessing SNAP benefits can be difficult due to strict paperwork and interview requirements. Certain populations, such as working families, children of immigrants, and senior citizens, have an especially hard time. For more information about the program visit the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities and the Food Research and Action Center.

Current Issue

The 2018 budget proposed by President Trump calls for more than $193 billion in cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) over the next ten years ― a more than 25 percent cut.  The cuts would come from shifting costs of the program to the states, imposing an abrupt benefit cliff, increasing time-limits for unemployed adults, and eliminating the small minimum benefit available mostly to seniors and people with disabilities.  For a full analysis see the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. 

The Farm Bill, which includes SNAP, is scheduled to be reauthorized every five years.  The House and Senate Agriculture Committees have held numerous hearings on the program and plan to have bill in 2018.  Based on the Center's research and work with SNAP recipients, we urge members of Congress to:

  • Protect the existing structure of the SNAP program;
  • Create a more gradual and coordinated decline in benefits when incomes increase;
  • Mandate staff training and infrastructure improvement to the process of applying and keeping SNAP; and
  • Learn from current SNAP recipients.


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