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Trump Budget Aims to Cut SNAP Benefits
14 February 2018, 06:46 | Floyd Cook
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If you receive money from food stamps, a proposal from the government would switch part of that benefit from dollars to non-perishable food. It would affect households that receive at least $90 a month in food stamps, or roughly 38 million people. Twelve percent of SNAPbenefits go to households that contain a person with a disability, and 10% of recipients are senior citizens.
Food stamp recipients now use a payment card to buy food under SNAP, with strict rules in place by the USDA in terms of what can be bought with the benefits. However, the remaining benefits would be given to the recipients on electronic benefit cards, making it a possible win-win on both sides. America's Harvest Box, unlike the Blue Apron boxes, will not include meats and vegetables but rather items such as peanut butter, cereal, shelf-stable milk, canned fruits and more.
USDA calls the food delivery program "America's Harvest Box".
A spokesperson for USDA confirmed that states would oversee the packing and distribution of the boxes - and could not answer questions regarding what would happen if people were unable to receive mail at home, were homeless, or had transport or work issues stopping them from picking up the box.
The proposal is also likely to enrage food retailers - particularly Walmart, Target and Aldi - who stand to lose billions if food stamp benefits are cut, analysts say.
The proposal was touted by White House budget director Mick Mulvaney and included in the White House fiscal budget, released Monday.
It's being called Blue Apron for food stamp recipients.
The Food Marketing Institute - which represents major grocery chains including Walmart and Kroger - joined the firing squad, saying that government-packed food boxes would be expensive and unravel an efficient program that had been refined over decades.
"What they're trying to do is demean these people", said U.S. Rep. David Scott, D-Atlanta, a senior member of the House Agriculture Committee who served with Perdue in the Georgia Senate in the 1990s. The processed foodpackages would not include fresh fruits and vegetables.
Knott also said that the program is created to help vulnerable populations like veterans returning from combat or seasonal workers who would lose benefits if they aren't working for several months.
The proposal would save almost $130 billion over 10 years, the White House said.
Cuts to foodsnaps and other programs like it typically face a tough fight and could be removed by the agriculture committees, who typically take up any changes to the program in the Farm Bill that is reauthorized every five years. They say food stamp regulations unfairly target the poor.
"With Blue Apron, you get to pick your meals and decide when they come".
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