Forty-eight years ago, President Lyndon Johnson signed the Food Stamp Act of 1964 into law, signaling the start of what we now know as food stamps. The law “[a]uthorized a food stamp program to permit low income households to receive ‘a greater share of the Nation's food abundance’.” Over the past 48 years, the program (which is now known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP) has been a fundamental bulwark for the poorest and hungriest people in our nation.
- SNAP helps the most vulnerable. The average SNAP household has an income of only 57 percent of the federal poverty level; and 84 percent of all benefits go to households with a child, senior, or disabled person. 93 percent of benefits go to households with incomes below the poverty line. This includes millions of working poor families.
- SNAP lifts people out of poverty. SNAP lifted 3.9 million Americans above the poverty line in 2010, including 1.7 million children and 280,000 seniors.
- SNAP has – for decades – enjoyed bipartisan support. Every bipartisan deficit group in 2010-2011 has insulated it from cuts, including the Simpson-Bowles and Domenici-Rivlin commissions; the Gang of Six; and the August 2011 deficit agreement. In his FY2012 and FY2013 budgets the President has included proposals to strengthen the program.
Courtesy of our friends at the Food Research and Action Center