Hunger Alert: Food Benefit Cuts Will Impact Over One Million Washingtonians
On November 1st, over one million people in Washington state will lose a portion of the help they receive to buy food. Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, that were increased under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), are scheduled to expire and congressional lawmakers have not taken action to prevent the impending cut.
According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, our state will lose $114 million in federal funds— money that gets spent directly in our economy (1). Families will see their benefits reduced by about 5.5 percent. For a family of three, that’s $29 less per month (see graph), leaving parents and children with an average of about $1.40 per person per meal in 2014(2).
The 2009 Recovery Act was enacted in response to the impact of the Great Recession. As part of the Act, food benefits were temporarily increased to help alleviate the downturn’s hit on families and provide direct economic stimulus to states. While Washington state is in a slow recovery mode, with revenues ticking up slightly and unemployment easing, our resources still have not returned to pre-recession levels and many families are still struggling. The cut will make it harder for families to make ends meet and undermines the building blocks of a prosperous economy.
1. Stacy Dean and Dottie Rosenbaum. “SNAP Benefits Will be Cut for All Participants in November 2013,” Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, August 2013.
The loss of federal funding will occur from November 2013 through September 2014, affecting the 2013-15 WA state biennial budget.