Washington, D.C. — As Congress debates the next coronavirus economic relief package, a new analysis from the Center for American Progress looks at the need for nutrition assistance for the nation’s neediest households.
In “12 Million People Have Been Excluded From Emergency Increases in SNAP Benefits,” Areeba Haider explains that, to date, Congress has left more than 12 million individuals—including nearly 5 million children—out of enacted coronavirus relief legislation. The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), the first coronavirus relief package passed and enacted by Congress months ago, included an important investment in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) aimed at stemming predicted increases in food insecurity. However, while some SNAP recipients saw a boost to their benefits, those who were already the poorest prior to the COVID-19 emergency and already receiving the maximum SNAP benefit did not and have not received any additional food assistance. That means that 7 million households, home to the more than 12 million individuals already deemed to be the most in need by SNAP eligibility guidelines, received no extra aid as the economy plummeted into a recession.
Haider adds to existing research by providing state-by-state breakdowns of households, individuals, households with children, and total children who were excluded from receiving additional nutrition assistance under the FFCRA. The data show that in more than half of all states, one-third or more of all SNAP households received no emergency benefits.
Haider argues that a 15 percent increase in maximum SNAP benefits for all households for the duration of the economic crisis would capture the 12 million individuals excluded from previous legislation and provide a much-needed boost to many of the 6 million new people using the program since the start of the coronavirus crisis.
“Unlike what we saw in the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act passed by the U.S. House of Representatives in May and calls from Senate leaders to increase and protect SNAP during the COVID-19 crisis, the legislative proposal put forth by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) last night included no provisions for additional nutrition assistance for the neediest families,” said Haider, a research assistant with the Poverty to Prosperity Program at CAP. “What the data show is that there are millions of SNAP-eligible people who were excluded from the last package. A 15 percent increase in maximum SNAP benefits for all households for the duration of the crisis would prevent millions from going hungry and help stimulate the economy.”
Read the column: “12 Million People Have Been Excluded From Emergency Increases in SNAP Benefits” by Areeba Haider
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