Food stamps, defined by the U.S government, is a federal nutrition program that aids in helping less fortunate individuals and families purchase food (usa.gov). What was initially known as the United States Food Stamps program is now known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP. The U.S government states that “SNAP benefits can help you stretch your food budget if you have a low income” (usa.gov). People who cannot afford to purchase nutritional groceries can apply for SNAP if they are deemed eligible by their state. For people who receive SNAP benefits and for those who don’t, discounts and coupons are extremely valuable when it comes to buying necessities. Discounts are deductions from the usual price of something (marketbusinessnews.com).
The United States Food Stamp program was initiated during the Great Depression under President Franklin D. Roosevelt in the 1930s. It was initially “designed to aid American farmers and businesses—as well as the hungry” (history.com). Today, federally funded programs have expanded to include programs like D-SNAP that help with food costs after a natural disaster and WIC that help women, infants, and children temporarily receive nutritional assistance.
To apply for food stamps aka SNAP, you must be a U.S citizen and “you must apply in the state in which you currently live and you must meet certain requirements, including resource and income limits, which are described on this page” (fns.usa.gov). Once you check your eligibility, you can apply online where you’ll be asked a series of questions and given an interview with a local state agent. Once all your documents are verified and the interview is complete, based on your needs and household size, you will be given a predetermined amount of money on an electronic benefit transfer (EBT) card that can be used to purchase groceries and cold foods. You will also be told when you need to recertify to continue receiving benefits.
Speaking from personal experience, food stamps are a great resource for people and families that cannot afford to purchase nutritional groceries. Nutrition plays a big aspect in SNAP’s mission of providing families with the money to live healthier lives. However, SNAP criteria can be very specific and oftentimes, if a person or household member makes so much as a dollar above the state’s required income, SNAP benefits can be denied, even to those who really need it. The stigma surrounding food stamps can also be a hindrance for people who can benefit from it. Since its inception, food stamps have often been associated with poor, minority communities when quite honestly, people of all races around the country receive them. Oftentimes, minorities are demeaned and shamed for being on public assistance. It’s important that we dismantle the negative stereotypes that are attached to people who are on food stamps because there is nothing to be ashamed about in needing help from the country one lives in.
As a result of the pandemic, “there are now nearly 44 million individuals on the [SNAP] program, up more than 20 percent from about 36 million in 2019” (politico.com).
The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities sites that “ more than
66% of SNAP participants are in families with children” (cbpp.org).
The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities also cites that the “ Average monthly SNAP benefit for each household member is $129” (cbpp.org).
Data obtained from Statitsa, Retailwire, and Valassis and summarized by couponfollow.com shows that “92% of shoppers in 2020 searched for coupons or offers before buying online (couponfollow.com).
SNAP benefits provide nutritional assistance to low-income families and individuals. (money.usnews.com)
Discounts and coupons are extremely valuable when it comes to buying necessities and if used efficiently , can significantly decrease one’s overall total.
You can apply for SNAP or other federally funded programs online if you meet your state’s requirements.
The U.S Department of Agriculture has made adjustments during the COVID-19 pandemic to make it easier for families and individuals to get food stamps during this time of need and uncertainty. (usa.gov)
Reshaping the narrative around receiving food stamps can help lessen the stigma and result in more people feeling comfortable enough to apply for SNAP.