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The United States government's food stamp program, commonly called the Food Stamp program, is an integral federal program that gives low and no-pay attention to qualified individuals who are registered members of the program. In the United States, this program is commonly referred to as the Food Stamp Program or the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as the Food Stamp Program.
The Food Stamp Program is administered by the Department of Agriculture (USDA). There are also some state programs under the Department of Health and Human Services. However, in the entire US, the Food Stamp Program is managed by the USDA. The food stamp program helps in reducing the rate of overall poverty in the country as well as providing monetary assistance to various persons who are suffering from temporary or acute shortages of monetary income due to loss of employment, due to any accident, because of extreme food scarcity, or even because of death and inability to earn income.
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Eligibility Criteria of the Food Stamp Program
The eligibility criteria of the food stamp program are based on the number of dependent family members that the applicant has. The maximum benefit amount per month is determined by the federal poverty level for the particular person. In every year, a set of income-based requirements are submitted to the Social Security Administration (SSA) that are reviewed to ensure that people who are eligible for the program still fall within the defined parameters of the program. The list of qualifying incomes includes: child support payments, retirement benefits, and unemployment compensation.
The food stamp program aims to increase the economic activity of the needy population in the country by reducing their dependency on public utilities (electricity and water) and increase their consumption of food. Another important function of the food stamp program is to reduce the ratio of food scarcity to food distribution. Increased demand for food stamps has led to an increase in production and processing of foodstuffs for distribution to the needy. Currently, there is an allocation of $3.5 billion per year for the distribution of food stamps.
How the Food Stamp Program Might Change
The food stamp program was created by the United States Congress to supplement the federal welfare system and help alleviate the economic suffering of low-income families in America. Each year, the United States taxpayers are required to pay an amount of money toward the benefits of the program, called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAS).
Current Food Stamp Program (FSP) funding expires October 30, 2021, coinciding with the end of implementation of emergency provisions for needy families. Because the cost of the program is established each year based on the rise and fall in the level of inflation, the federal government has no option but to renew the program, which will cost nearly $7 billion per year.
President Bush has pushed for an extension of the FSP, claiming that its primary function has been fulfilled, and the benefits are currently available and expected to be available to low-income families next year. Since most of the money from the FSP goes directly to providing food assistance to needy families, and since the majority of recipients are on welfare, the administration's proposal seems to make sense.
However, many Americans are upset at the prospect of a food stamp take-up, arguing that it does not address the root cause of poverty: joblessness. Many economists argue that job loss is the biggest single contributor to extreme levels of poverty in the U.S., and the unemployment rate for black Americans is the highest of any group in the country. For this reason, some believe that the Bush administration's proposal to extend the FSP is simply a way to temporarily provide additional relief to some low-income families while they deal with the problems of joblessness.
One problem with the Bush Administration's proposed FSP program, however, is that it does not provide enough incentive for employers to hire young people with a bright future, or offer benefits for part-time jobs that provide additional income. Without such support, the FSP would be ineffective as an employer incentive.
For this and other reasons, some are calling on Congress to increase the FSP eligibility criteria so that low-income families who are close to retirement age or already working poor wages can apply. A proposal introduced in the House by Representative George Miller (D-CA) would do this, but is likely to be defeated in the Senate, where a majority of Democrats are in favor of keeping the existing food stamp benefit level.
Reinstatement of the EFC and TANF - Are You Eligible?
Current Food Stamp Program (FSSP) Regulations expire September 30th, 2021, coinciding with the expiration of the temporary authorization for eligibility for low-income families with dependent children. The current regulations provide for eligibility to families that do not earn enough money to meet the required income limits for the applicable benefit year.
Expiration of the FSSP creates a significant increase in the number of qualified applicants for the program. As a result, the system is expected to experience an increase in applications leading up to the next scheduled benefit year.
Applying for food stamps does not guarantee automatic inclusion into the program; nor does it assure benefit acceptance. In addition, there are many eligibility requirements specific to each state and county that must be met in order to qualify for food stamps. Because there are no federal requirements for these, most applicants for food stamps do not meet the standards for eligibility, and they end up receiving only a fraction of the actual benefit.
A significant unresolved issue regarding food stamp benefits is whether or not the proposed welfare reform legislation will reinstate the EFC and TANF take-up requirements. Reinstatement of these regulations would bring much needed federal attention to the issue of inadequate benefit entitlement levels and would stimulate a greater focus on the number of qualified applicant families willing to participate in the program.
There has been considerable debate over the benefits that would be re-authorized, but without reinstatement of the EFC and TANF take-up requirements the majority of eligible families will not even be able to qualify for benefits under the current regulations. Proponents of increasing food stamp benefits believe that reinstatement of the EFC and TANF regulations will result in more people being able to participate in the program and enjoy its many benefits, while those opposed to increasing the eligibility levels believe that increased regulations and added screening processes will prevent the majority of approved applicants from ever qualifying for benefits.
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SUPPLEMENTAL NUTRITION ASSISTANCE PROGRAM (SNAP)
To get SNAP benefits, you must apply in the state in which you currently live and you must meet certain requirements, including resource and income limits.
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