The Pronk Pops Show 1119, August 2, 2018, Story 1: President Trump Rising In Polls Hits 50 Percent Approval for Job Performance — Party Affiliation of Voters — Independents 41 Percent — Democrats 30 Percent and Republican 26 Percent — Videos — Story 2: Third Quarter 2018 Real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) Could Hit 5 Percent — Advance Estimate Released on October 26 — Videos — Story 3: Number of Americans on Food Stamps or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Declining As Budgets Decline –Food in A Box — Less Money More Food — Videos — Story 4: Obesity Expanding In America — Fat Ass Americans — Pandemic — Keeping America Fat — Promises Kept — Videos

Posted on August 3, 2018. Filed under: American History, Animal, Banking System, Beef, Blogroll, Bread, Breaking News, Budgetary Policy, Business, Cartoons, Cereal, Clinton Obama Democrat Criminal Conspiracy, Communications, Congress, Corruption, Countries, Crime, Culture, Diet, Diets, Disasters, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Eating, Economics, Empires, Employment, Exercise, Fiscal Policy, Food, Food, Government Dependency, Government Spending, Health, Health Care, Health Care Insurance, History, House of Representatives, Human, Human Behavior, Independence, Investments, IRS, Labor Economics, Life, Media, Medical, Milk, Monetary Policy, National Interest, Networking, News, Nutrition, Obesity, Overweight, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Polls, President Trump, Progressives, Radio, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Robert S. Mueller III, Rule of Law, Scandals, Science, Security, Senate, Spying, Success, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP_, Surveillance and Spying On American People, Surveillance/Spying, Tax Policy, Taxation, Taxes, Technology, Trade Policy, United States of America, Videos, Wealth, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |




The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 1119, August 2, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1118, August 1, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1117, July 31, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1116, July 30, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1115, July 26, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1114, July 25, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1113, July 24, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1112, July 23, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1111, July 19, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1110, July 18, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1109, July 17, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1108, July 16, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1107, July 12, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1106, July 11, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1105, July 10, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1104, July 9, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1103, July 5, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1102, JUly 3, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1101, July 2, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1100, June 28, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1099, June 26, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1098, June 25, 2018 

Pronk Pops Show 1097, June 21, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1096, June 20, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1095, June 19, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1094, June 18, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1093, June 14, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1092, June 13, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1091, June 12, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1090, June 11, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1089, June 7, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1088, June 6, 2018 

Pronk Pops Show 1087, June 4, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1086, May 31, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1085, May 30, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1084, May 29, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1083, May 24, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1082, May 23, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1081, May 22, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1080, May 21, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1079, May 17, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1078, May 16, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1077, May 15, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1076, May 14, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1075, May 10, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1073, May 8, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1072, May 7, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1071, May 4, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1070, May 3, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1069, May 2, 2018

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Story 1: President Trump Rising In Polls Hits 50 Percent Approval for Job Performance — Party Affiliation of Voters: Independents 41 Percent — Democrats 30 Percent and Republican 26 Percent — Videos —


Daily Presidential Tracking Poll

The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Thursday shows that 50% of Likely U.S. Voters approve of President Trump’s job performance. Forty-nine percent (49%) disapprove.

The latest figures include 35% who Strongly Approve of the way Trump is performing and 41% who Strongly Disapprove. This gives him a Presidential Approval Index rating of -6. (see trends).

Regular updates are posted Monday through Friday at 9:30 a.m. Eastern (sign up for free daily email update).

Rasmussen Reports invites you to be a part of our first-ever Citizen-Sourced National Midterm Election Polling Project.Learn more about how you can contribute.

Now that Gallup has quit the field, Rasmussen Reports is the only nationally recognized public opinion firm that still tracks President Trump’s job approval ratings on a daily basis. If your organization is interested in a weekly or longer sponsorship of Rasmussen Reports’ Daily Presidential Tracking Poll, please send e-mail to .

President Trump in a tweet yesterday reiterated that the Justice Department should end the Special Counsel’s investigation into whether there were “links and/or coordination” between the Russian Government and his 2016 campaign.

Stemming from that investigation, the trial of former Trump campaign manager and business associate Paul Manafort enters its third day in U.S. District Court in Alexandria, Virginia. Will the trial lead to criminal charges against the president? We’ll tell you at 10:30 what voters say.

Nearly half of voters don’t believe Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe is worth what it has spent (more than $22 million as of July, according to one report) investigating allegations of Russian collusion in the 2016 election, and few believe the outcome will benefit the United States.  

Vice President Mike Pence yesterday led a ceremony in Honolulu to receive the remains of U.S. servicemen killed during the Korean War. Their return resulted from President Trump’s June summit in Singapore with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un.

Voters are only slightly more positive about the president’s dealings with North Korea but are cautiously optimistic about the denuclearization deal Trump and Kim have signed. As is often the case, however, partisan affiliation makes a huge difference in perceptions.

While his daily approval rating is 50% today, President Trump has earned a monthly job approval of 46% in July.

Democrats continue to lead over Republicans on the latest Rasmussen Reports Generic Congressional Ballot.

20-Jan-1729-Mar-1705-Jun-1711-Aug-1718-Oct-1729-Dec-1709-Mar-1816-May-1802-Aug-180%10%20%30%40%50%60%70%80%www.RasmussenReports.comTotal Approve (Trump)Total Approve (Obama)

It has been almost two years since Trump was elected president, but for a third of voters, the 2016 presidential election has had long-lasting negative effects on relationships with family and friends. Most voters also think Americans are less tolerant of each other’s political opinions these days.

Several U.S. Democratic gubernatorial and senatorial candidates have been stumping for single-payer healthcare as part of their 2018 midterm election platforms. Voters are now closely divided on whether the federal government should provide healthcare for everyone even though most believe their personal taxes will increase as a result.

While most voters continue to give the health care they receive a positive rating, few hold the nation’s health care system in high regard.


-620-Jan-1729-Mar-1705-Jun-1711-Aug-1718-Oct-1729-Dec-1709-Mar-1816-May-1802-Aug-1810%20%30%40%50%60%www.RasmussenReports.comStrongly DisapproveStrongly Approve

Some readers wonder how we come up with our job approval ratings for the president since they often don’t show as dramatic a change as some other pollsters do. It depends on how you ask the question and whom you ask.

To get a sense of longer-term job approval trends for the president, Rasmussen Reports compiles our tracking data on a full month-by-month basis.

Rasmussen Reports has been a pioneer in the use of automated telephone polling techniques, but many other firms still utilize their own operator-assisted technology (see methodology).

Daily tracking results are collected via telephone surveys of 500 likely voters per night and reported on a three-day rolling average basis. To reach those who have abandoned traditional landline telephones, Rasmussen Reports uses an online survey tool to interview randomly selected participants from a demographically diverse panel. The margin of sampling error for the full sample of 1,500 Likely Voters is +/- 2.5 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Results are also compiled on a full-week basis and crosstabs for full-week results are available for Platinum Members.


Trump got a dynamite GDP number last quarter — and early signs point to the next one being even better

trump thumbs upReuters
  • President Donald Trump took a victory lap Friday after second quarter GDP came in at 4.1%, the strongest since the third quarter of 2014.
  • Trump said the GDP reading proved that his policies were working and that the country was on track to fulfill his promise of sustained 4% annual GDP growth.
  • Many economists doubted the strong growth would continue, since transitory factors help boost the second quarter number.
  • But early estimates for third quarter GDP look potentially even stronger.

President Donald Trump took a victory lap Friday after the release of a strong second-quarter GDP number, and early signs point to the celebration continuing in the third quarter.

The 4.1% second-quarter reading was the highest since 2014, as both the White House and GOP pointed to the growth as proof that Trump’s policies were boosting the US economy. The president also touted the number as proof the economy could achieve his promise of annual GDP growth over 4%, a claim of which almost all economists were skeptical .

While Friday’s release was substantial, many economists pointed to short-term factors that could fade in future quarters — like a huge boost in soybean exports ahead of Trump’s tariffs and fiscal stimulus from the federal budget.

But early indications from third-quarter economic data show that Trump may have reason to boast about the third quarter, too.

The Atlanta Federal Reserve’s GDPNow measure, which uses available data to predict the current quarter’s GDP growth, stands at 5% as of Thursday — up slightly from an initial estimate of 4.7%.

The estimate has a strong track record of prediction. But GDPNow isn’t perfect, especially so early in a quarter, and it is subject to updates as more data emerges.

But Neil Dutta, head of US economics at research firm Renaissance Macro, pointed to data that shows the strong initial reading from the Atlanta Fed is likely to hold up.

While Dutta said it’s “unlikely that we’ll get 5% for the third quarter,” the economist noted that the average move for the GDPNow reading over the course of a quarter since its inception is a 0.6-percentage point drop. Given the initial reading, that would put the final third quarter GDPNow estimate at 4.1%, which would be on par second quarter and one of the highest post-recession readings.

Screen Shot 2018 08 02 at 2.23.43 PMRenaissance Macro Research
  • The biggest downward move in the GDPNow’s estimate over the course of a quarter was 2.2 percentage points, per Dutta’s breakdown, which would still leave GDP growth at a respectable 2.5%.
  • On the other end, the largest upward move was 1.5 percentage points, so an equal move from this quarter’s reading would put the third quarter at 6.5%. That would be the highest quarterly GDP print since the third quarter of 2003.

“Anything in that range is consistent with strong, above-trend growth and would be a reasonably solid number coming after a 4% GDP print,” Dutta said.

In the second quarter, the 4.1% GDP reading was also above the Atlanta Fed’s final estimate of 3.8%.

Trump, for his part, is already banking on a big third-quarter reading, which is set to be released October 26.

“I happen to think we’re going to do extraordinarily well in our next report,” Trump said at the press conference Friday.

Story 3: Less Than 40 Million Americans on Food Stamps or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Declining As U.S. Federal Budget For SNAP Cut — Trump Proposed America’s Harvest Box — Less Money More Food — People Want Choice Not Preselected Boxes of Food –Little Boxes — Walk Off The Earth — Videos

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Little Boxes – Walk off the Earth

The history of food stamps

SNAP, Food Stamps, Obesity, and Behavioral Economics

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

Donald Trump’s Budget Declares War on Hungry Children and Families w/ the ‘American Harvest Box’

Republicans Put Rural Poor SNAP In Crosshairs

How Trump’s ‘food box’ proposal could affect families in Wisconsin

Bay Area families worry about the future of SNAP benefits after President Trump proposes cuts

SNAP EBT Food Stamps CUT! true or not true REPLACED By Food Delivery! DO SOME RESEARCH FOR U

Concerns White House Proposal To Food Stamp Program

Food stamp changes worrying business owner

Food Stamp Cuts Will Affect You Whether You Get Them Or Not

President Donald Trump Wants To Cut SNAP And Give Poor Boxes Of Food | AM Joy | MSNBC

Trump Wants To Replace Food Stamps With Food Boxes

Trump Wants To Send People On SNAP Cheap Food Boxes

Trump To Cut Half Of Food Stamps (SNAP) And Replace Them With “America’s Harvest Box” (REACTION)

Look What Trump Just Did To Food Stamps—Millions Of Freeloaders Enraged

Little Boxes – Walk off the Earth



Last Published: 08/01/2018

The Program Data site provides selected statistical information on activity in all major Food and Nutrition Service Programs (FNS). These include the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP); the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC); Child Nutrition Programs (National School Lunch, School Breakfast, Child and Adult Care, Summer Food Service and Special Milk); and Food Distribution Programs (Schools, Emergency Food Assistance, Indian Reservations, Commodity Supplemental, Nutrition for the Elderly, and Charitable Institutions).

Four types of tables are provided: historical summaries, annual state level data for selected elements, monthly national level data for major programs, and the latest available month for state-level participation in major programs. The summaries begin with 1969, the year that FNS was established to administer the Department of Agriculture’s nutrition assistance programs. Data are provided by federal fiscal year rather than calendar or school year. This includes the months of October through September (prior to FY 1977, it covered July through June). Annual state-level tables include data for the five most recent complete years (2013-2017). The latest month for state-level activity is April 2018. Data are as of July 06, 2018; FY 2017 and 2018 numbers are preliminary and are subject to significant revision.

If you need additional information or have any questions, please e-mail us. The following program area pages provide detailed program explanations and information: SNAPChild NutritionWIC and Food Distribution.

Food Stamp Cuts Could Hurt Thousands of Service Members

Posted By  on Thu, Jul 5, 2018 at 3:02 pm


Military service members are among the millions of Americans who would be affected by proposed budget cuts to federal food stamps, also known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

In February, President Donald Trump released a fiscal-year 2019 budget proposal that included a new approach to the program that “combines traditional SNAP benefits with 100-percent American grown foods provided directly to households.” The change would cut SNAP funding by $213 billion dollars over 10 years.

According to a 2016 report from the US Government Accountability Office (GAO), approximately 23,000 active duty military service members were SNAP recipients in 2013.

Brenda Farrell, director of defense capabilities and management at GAO, oversaw development of the report.

“Don’t assume that service members don’t need help,” Farrell said. “We all know that over the years the pay has increased and bonuses have been there to attract the right people, but you still have pockets where the need is still there.”

The San Antonio Food Bank provides food for 58,000 people a week, and one in seven active or former military service members use similar services across the U.S., according to food bank President and CEO Eric Cooper. 

“We know from our work that many active enlisted servicemen and women call our center,” Cooper said. “Sometimes they might not want to share with people they are closest to that they are in need, so they reach out to the food bank as a neutral place so they don’t have to ask for help from those who are closest to them.”

According to Cooper, the House proposal increases some barriers and the program’s cost while cutting some benefits for low-income families.

“Our current farm bill has a strong nutrition title,” Cooper said. “It’s not perfect, but it helps to ensure that 42 million Americans have access to good nutrition. … It just never seems to make sense to me that we would increase cost and bureaucracy while decreasing services and benefits to someone in need.”

The San Antonio Food Bank and its partner agencies have been discussing how to move forward if the budget cuts are approved, Cooper said, but their ability to meet people’s needs is heavily dependent on farmers, donors and food industry partners.

“If the proposed SNAP cuts go through, it will literally take food off the table,” Cooper said. “For that need to be met, we feel that we will see longer lines at our food pantries and the demand for services will be even greater for us at the San Antonio Food Bank.”

Cooper said there are some challenges unique to service members that frequently result in them turning to the food-stamp program. Often they have children and a spouse who’s unable to build a career due to the constant mobility of active-duty life. The military’s Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) benefit can also present a challenge since it can make a person ineligible for food-stamp assistance.

San Antonio’s Director of Military Affairs Juan Ayala said there has been a shift in the people who volunteer for service.

“If you take a look at the average service member that joins today, a lot of them are married and have dependent children,” Ayala said. “That is different than when I came into the Marine Corps in 1976, when almost everybody that came in was single. … Less than one percent of the population in the United States think about joining the military, and a small number actually join so sometimes the pool for recruiting is challenging so sometimes we get older recruits.”

Ayala said lower-ranking service members are the most likely to need food assistance services because they make the lowest salaries, and with a familythey could easily become eligible for SNAP.

Lower ranking troops stationed in high cost areas such as California and Washington D.C. will be the most directly affected by the SNAP budget cuts, according to Ayala.

“It is going to affect those that are in uniform, a lot of those that are deployed and can’t get a second job,” Ayala said. “If you’re in uniform performing a service to the country I think that it should be taken into consideration — for anybody that really deserves [SNAP] and really needs it — but especially for the troops.”

Trump’s ‘Harvest Box’ Isn’t Viable in SNAP Overhaul, Officials Say

People paid for fresh produce using federal assistance at a farmers market in Lake Orion, Mich., in 2013.CreditLauren Abdel-Razzaq/The Detroit News, via Associated Press

WASHINGTON — The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program offers about 46 million low-income Americans both sustenance and economic choice by providing an allowance to buy the fruit, meat, fresh vegetables, soda, ice cream and kind of bread they want to eat.

But on Monday, the Trump administration sprung a surprise: Under a proposal in the president’s budget many participants in the program would be given half their benefits in the form of a “Harvest Box” full of food preselected for nutritional value and economic benefit to American farmers. The cache of cheaper peanut butter, canned goods, pasta, cereal, “shelf stable” milk and other products would now be selected by the federal government, not by the people actually eating it.

The proposal seemed like a radical overhaul of the country’s core food assistance program — once called food stamps but now commonly known as SNAP. The idea was to shave about $21 billion a year from the federal deficit over the next 10 years. But the reaction was immediate, and largely negative.

Democrats claimed the plan shackled the poor while business groups, led by big food retailers, would stand to lose billions of dollars in lost SNAP business. The head of one trade association typically supportive of President Trump’s economic policies accused the administration of reneging on its pledge to cut “red tape and regulations.”

Instead, the idea, according to two administration officials who worked on the proposal, was a political gambit by fiscal hawks in the administration aimed at outraging liberals and stirring up members of the president’s own party working on the latest version of the farm bill. The move, they said, was intended to lay down a marker that the administration is serious about pressing for about $85 billion in other cuts to food assistance programs that will be achieved, in part, by imposing strict new work requirements on recipients.

“I don’t think there’s really any support for their box plan. And, I worry that it’s a distraction from the budget’s proposal to cut SNAP by some 30 percent. That’s the real battle,” said Stacy Dean, vice president for food assistance policy at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a progressive Washington think tank. “The dangers are these other proposals to cut benefits. But all anyone is talking about today are the boxes.”

Senator Debbie Stabenow, the ranking Democrat on the agriculture committee, doubted the motives behind the plan.

“This isn’t a serious proposal and is clearly meant to be a distraction,” Ms. Stabenow said.

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue stealthily pitched the idea over the last few weeks to the White House’s Domestic Policy Council as a novel way to reach the administration’s self-imposed goal of slashing federal food assistance programs by $214 billion over the next decade. It was quickly embraced by Mr. Mulvaney, a fiscal hawk who is seeking to steer a debate increasingly dominated by free-spending Republicans and Mr. Trump, who has insisted on major budget increases for the Pentagon and Homeland Security.

Neither man had any illusions that the plan would be immediately embraced by congressional Republicans, who were not given advance notice of the proposal, the officials said.

That the food-box approach has been tried only in small demonstration projects and never been seriously discussed during dozens of congressional hearings on the SNAP program in recent years did not stop administration officials from putting the force of Mr. Trump’s presidency behind it.

The budget documents released on Monday omitted other important details, including the real costs of creating a nationwide distribution network for the boxes, especially in rural areas hard hit by the economic downturn and the opioid crisis.

“We have had like 25 hearings on SNAP. The witness list was controlled by Republicans and this idea was never, ever broached,” said Representative Jim McGovern of Massachusetts, ranking Democrat on the House subcommittee that oversees federal food assistance programs. “I think it’s dead on arrival — I hope it is — but either way it’s a cruel joke. My God, these people are awful. In addition to being totally misinformed on policy, they are really just not nice people.”

In a statement, Mr. Perdue defended the proposal as humane and cost effective, saying his plan offered the “same level of food value” provided by the SNAP program, which replaced the food stamp program in the late 1990s.

He described the boxes as “a bold, innovative approach to providing nutritious food to people who need assistance feeding themselves and their families — and all of it is grown by American farmers and producers.”

Still, the idea landed with a thud. It was quickly dismissed by two Republican committee chairmen, Senator Pat Roberts of Kansas, who leads the Senate agriculture committee, and his counterpart in the House, Representative K. Michael Conaway of Texas.


Mr. Conaway is drafting a farm bill that is expected to slash billions in spending in the SNAP program through the tightening of some eligibility requirements. Mr. Roberts is overseeing an effort to craft a version of the bill that is expected to include fewer cuts in hopes of gaining the bipartisan support needed to push the measure through the Senate.

SNAP, like many other safety net programs, is designed to expand during hard economic times and contract when the economy improves. Nonetheless, the program’s rolls have remained at historically elevated levels, reaching a peak of 47.8 million recipients in 2012 before edging down to 45.6 million last year, according to federal estimates.

Mr. Perdue, in particular, has been outspoken in his call to reduce its rolls, criticizing what he calls a culture of dependency among SNAP recipients.

But Mr. McGovern said the administration was painting “a distorted picture” of the poor and ignoring the fact that most SNAP recipients are employed and more than a quarter are disabled and unable to seek work.

“They have to stop playing to the cheap seats,” he said. “The majority of people in the program are children and seniors and people working in jobs that pay too little to feed their families.”

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

Am I Eligible for SNAP?

Last Published: 06/27/2018

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, which are described on this page. SNAP income and resource limits are updated annually. The information on this page is for October 1, 2017, through September 30, 2018.

There are special SNAP rules for households with elderly or disabled members.

Frequently Asked Questions

Am I eligible for SNAP?

Your household must meet certain requirements to be eligible for SNAP and receive benefits. If your State agency determines that you are eligible to receive SNAP benefits, you will receive benefits back to the date you submitted your application.

To see if you might be eligible for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, visit our pre-screening tool.

Note: The FNS SNAP pre-screening eligibility tool is an interactive site with general information about eligibility requirements and how benefits are determined. Sharing your information in that form does not mean you filed an application for benefits. You will still need to submit an application through your State SNAP agency or local SNAP office.

How do I apply for SNAP?

You must apply for SNAP in the State where you currently live. Because each State has a different application form and process, a member of your household must contact your State agency directly to apply.

You can contact your State agency by visiting your local SNAP office, visiting your State agency’s website, or calling your State’s toll-free SNAP Information hotline. Some States have online applications that can be completed from the State agency website.

Where can I get my State information?

If you are unable to go to your local SNAP office or do not have access to the internet, you may have another person act as an authorized representative by applying and being interviewed on your behalf. You must designate the authorized representative in writing.

Note: Please contact your SNAP State agency directly to apply and to request information about the status of your application. FNS does not process applications or have access to case information.

What happens when I apply for SNAP?

In most cases, once you submit your application, your State agency or local SNAP office will process it and send you a notice telling you whether or not you are eligible for benefits within 30 days.

During the 30 days, you will need to complete an eligibility interview and give proof (verification) of the information you provided. The interview is typically completed over the telephone or in-person. If you are found eligible, you will receive benefits based on the date you submitted your application.

You may be eligible to receive SNAP benefits within 7 days of your application date if you meet additional requirements. For example, if your household has less than $100 in liquid resources and $150 in monthly gross income, or if your household’s combined monthly gross income and liquid resources are less than what you pay each month for rent or mortgage and utilities expenses. Contact your State agency for additional details.

How do I receive SNAP benefits?

If you are found eligible, you will receive SNAP benefits on an Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card, which works like a debit card. Benefits are automatically loaded into your account each month. You can use your EBT card to buy groceries at authorized food stores and retailers.

How long will I receive SNAP?

If you are found eligible, you will receive a notice that tells you how long you will receive SNAP benefits for; this is called your certification period. Before your certification period ends, you will receive another notice that says you must recertify to continue receiving benefits. Your local SNAP office will provide you with information about how to recertify.

Who is in a SNAP household?

Everyone who lives together and purchases and prepares meals together is grouped together as one SNAP household.

Some people who live together, such as spouses and most children under age 22, are included in the same SNAP household, even if they purchase and prepare meals separately.

If a person is 60 years of age or older and unable to purchase and prepare meals separately because of a permanent disability, the person and the person’s spouse may be a separate SNAP household if the others they live with do not have very much income (no more than 165 percent of the poverty level).

Normally you are not eligible for SNAP benefits if an institution gives you most of your meals. There are exceptions for elderly persons and disabled persons.

What resources can I have (and still get SNAP benefits)?


Households may have $2,250 in countable resources (such as cash or money in a bank account) or $3,500 in countable resources if at least one member of the household is age 60 or older, or is disabled.

However, certain resources are NOT counted when determining eligibility for SNAP:

  • A home and lot;
  • Resources of people who receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI);
  • Resources of people who receive Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF; also known as welfare); and
  • Most retirement and pension plans (withdrawals from these accounts may count as either income or resources depending on how often they occur).


Vehicles count as a resource for SNAP purposes. States determine how vehicles may count toward household resources.

Licensed vehicles are NOT counted if they are:

  • Used for income-producing purposes (e.g., taxi, truck or delivery vehicle);
  • Annually producing income consistent with their fair market value;
  • Needed for long distance travel for work (other than daily commute);
  • Used as the home;
  • Needed to transport a physically disabled household member;
  • Needed to carry most of the household’s fuel or water; or
  • If the sale of the vehicle would result in less than $1500.

For non-excluded licensed vehicles, the fair market value over $4,650 counts as a resource.

Licensed vehicles are also subject to an equity test, which is the fair market value less any amount owed on the vehicle. The following vehicles are excluded from the equity test:

  • One vehicle per adult household member; and
  • Any other vehicle used by a household member under 18 to drive to work, school, job training, or to look for work.

For vehicles with both a fair market value over $4,650 and an equity value, the greater of the two amounts is counted as a resource.

Additionally, the equity value of unlicensed vehicles generally counts as a resource, with some exceptions.

What are the SNAP income limits?

In most cases, your household must meet both the gross and net income limits described below or you are not eligible for SNAP and cannot receive benefits.

Gross income means a household’s total, non-excluded income, before any deductions have been made.

Net income means gross income minus allowable deductions.

A household with an elderly or disabled person only has to meet the net income limit, as described on the elderly and disabled page.

If all members of your household are receiving Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Supplemental Security Income (SSI), or in some places other general assistance, your household may be deemed “categorically eligible” for SNAP because you have already been determined eligible for another means-tested program.

The information provided in the table below applies to households in the 48 contiguous States and the District of Columbia that apply for SNAP between October 1, 2017, through September 30, 2018.

Table 1: SNAP Income Eligibility Limits – October 1, 2017, through September 30, 2018

Household Size Gross monthly income

(130 percent of poverty)

Net monthly income

(100 percent of poverty)

1 $1,307 $ 1,005
2 $1,760 $1,354
3 $2,213 $1,702
4 $2,665 $2,050
5 $3,118 $2,399
6 $3,571 $2,747
7 $4,024 $3,095
8 $4,477 $3,444
Each additional member +$453 +$349

* SNAP gross and net income limits are higher in Alaska and Hawaii.

What deductions are allowed in SNAP?

The following deductions are allowed for SNAP:

  • A 20-percent deduction from earned income.
  • A standard deduction of $160 for household sizes of 1 to 3 people and $170 for a household size of 4 (higher for some larger households and for households in Alaska, Hawaii, and Guam).
  • A dependent care deduction when needed for work, training, or education.
  • Medical expenses for elderly or disabled members that are more than $35 for the month if they are not paid by insurance or someone else. This is described on the elderly and disabled page.
  • In some States, legally owed child support payments.
  • In some States, a standard shelter deduction for homeless households of $143.
  • Excess shelter costs as described below.

SNAP Excess Shelter Costs Deduction

The shelter deduction is for shelter costs that are more than half of the household’s income after other deductions.

Allowable shelter costs include:

  • Fuel to heat and cook with.
  • Electricity.
  • Water.
  • The basic fee for one telephone.
  • Rent or mortgage payments and interest.
  • Taxes on the home.

Some States allow a set amount for utility costs instead of actual costs.

The amount of the shelter deduction is capped at (or limited to) $535 unless one person in the household is elderly or disabled. The limit is higher in Alaska, Hawaii, and Guam. For a household with an elderly or disabled member all shelter costs over half of the household’s income may be deducted.

Table 2: How to Calculate SNAP Gross Income

Gross Income Calculation Example
Determine household size . . . 4 people with no elderly or disabled members.
Add gross monthly income . . . $1,500 earned income + $550 social security =  $2,050 gross income.
If gross monthly income is less than the limit for household size, determine net income. $2,050 is less than the $2,665 allowed for a 4-person household, so determine net income.


Table 3: How to Calculate SNAP Net Income

Net Income Calculation Example
Subtract 20% earned income deduction . . . $2,050 gross income


$1,500 earned income x 20% = $300. $2,050 – $300 = $1,750

Subtract standard deduction . . . $1,750 – $170 standard deduction for a 4-person household = $1,580
Subtract dependent care deduction  . . . $1,580 – $361 dependent care = $1,219
Subtract child support deduction . . . 0
Subtract medical costs over $35 for elderly and disabled . . . 0
Excess shelter deduction . . .
Determine half of adjusted income . . . $1,219 adjusted income/2 = $609.50
Determine if shelter costs are more than half of adjusted income . . . $700 total shelter – $609 (half of income) = $90 excess shelter cost
Subtract excess amount, but not more than the limit, from adjusted income . . . $1,219 – $90.50 = $1,128.50 Net monthly income
Apply the net income test . . . Since the net monthly income is less than $2,050 allowed for 4-person household, the household has met the income test.

How much could I receive in SNAP benefits?

The total amount of SNAP benefits your household gets each month is called an allotment.

Because SNAP households are expected to spend about 30 percent of their own resources on food, your allotment is calculated by multiplying your household’s net monthly income by 0.3, and subtracting the result from the maximum monthly allotment for your household size.

Table 4: SNAP Maximum Monthly Allotment Based on Household Size

People in Household Maximum Monthly Allotment
1 $   192
2 $   352
3 $   504
4 $   640
5 $   760
6 $   913
7 $ 1,009
8 $ 1,153
Each additional person $ 144

Note: The allotments described here are for households in the 48 contiguous States and the District of Columbia. The allotments are different in Alaska, Hawaii, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Table 5: Example of SNAP Benefit Calculation

Benefit Calculation Example
Multiply net income by 30%…  (Round up) $1,128.50 net monthly income  x 0.3 = 338.55 (round up to $339)
Subtract 30% of net income from the maximum allotment for the household size… $640 maximum allotment for 4-person household – $339 (30% of   net income) = $301, SNAP Allotment for a full month

What are the SNAP work requirements?

In general, people must meet work requirements to be eligible for SNAP. These work requirements include:

  • Registering for work;
  • Not voluntarily quitting a job or reducing hours;
  • Taking a job if offered; and
  • Participating in employment and training programs, if assigned by the State.

Failure to comply with these requirements can result in disqualification from the Program.

In addition, able bodied adults without dependents are required to work or participate in a work program for at least 20 hours per week in order to receive SNAP benefits for more than 3 months in a 36-month period.

Some special groups may not be subject to these requirements including:

  • Children;
  • Seniors;
  • Pregnant women; and
  • People who are exempt for physical or mental health reasons.

Are non-citizens eligible for SNAP?

SNAP eligibility has never been extended to undocumented non-citizens. Specific requirements for non-citizens who may be eligible have changed substantially over the years and become more complicated in certain areas. The Food and Nutrition Act of 2008 limits eligibility for SNAP benefits to U.S. citizens and certain lawfully present non-citizens.

Generally, to qualify for SNAP, non-citizens must meet one of the following criteria:

  • Have lived in the United States for at least 5 years.
  • Be receiving disability-related assistance or benefits.
  • Be children under 18.

Additionally, these individuals must also satisfy other SNAP eligibility requirements such as income and resource limits in order to qualify for benefits.

If certain members of a household are ineligible for SNAP, State agencies must still determine eligibility for SNAP for any remaining household members who are seeking assistance.

For additional information see: SNAP Policy on Non-Citizen Eligibility and SNAP Guidance on Non-Citizen Eligibility.

What if I disagree with a decision made on my SNAP case?

If you disagree with a decision in your case, you may request a fair hearing with an official who is required by law to review the facts of your case in a fair and objective manner.

Note: You must request a fair hearing within 90 days of the day your local SNAP office made the decision in your case that you disagree with.

You can request a fair hearing over the phone, in writing, or in person at the local SNAP office.

Although a fair hearing cannot change the laws or regulations governing SNAP, it can ensure that decisions on your case have been made correctly.

Nondiscrimination in SNAP

SNAP benefits are available to all eligible households regardless of race, sex, religious creed, national origin, or political beliefs.

The USDA prohibits discrimination in all its programs and activities on the basis of race, color, national origin, gender, religion, age, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, or marital and family status. (Not all prohibited bases apply to all programs.) Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication of program information (Braille, large print, audiotape, etc.) should contact USDA’s TARGET Center at (202) 720-2600 (voice and TDD).

To file a complaint of discrimination, write USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, Room 326- W, Whitten Building, 14th and Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, D.C. 20250-9410 or call (202) 720-5964 (voice and TDD). USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

Where can I get additional information about SNAP?

For additional information about SNAP in your State, to file an application for SNAP benefits, or to get information about your SNAP case, you must contact your local SNAP office.  Where Can I Get My State Information?

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program

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SNAP logo

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP),[1] formerly known as the Food Stamp Program, provides food-purchasing assistance for low- and no-income people living in the United States. It is a federal aidprogram, administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, under the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS), though benefits are distributed by each U.S. state‘s Division of Social Services or Children and Family Services.

SNAP benefits cost $70.9 billion in fiscal year 2016 and supplied roughly 44.2 million Americans (14% of the population)[2] with an average of $125.51 for each person per month in food assistance. Beneficiaries and costs increased sharply with the Great Recession, peaked in 2013 and have declined through 2016 as the economy recovered.[3] It is the largest nutrition program of the 15 administered by FNS and is a component of the federal social safety netfor low-income Americans.[4]

The amount of SNAP benefits received by a household depends on the household’s size, income, and expenses. For most of its history, the program used paper-denominated “stamps” or coupons – worth US$1 (brown), $5 (blue), and $10 (green) – bound into booklets of various denominations, to be torn out individually and used in single-use exchange. Because of their 1:1 value ratio with actual currency, the coupons were printed by the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. Their rectangular shape resembled a U.S. dollar bill (although about one-half the size), including intaglio printing on high-quality paper with watermarks. In the late 1990s, the Food Stamp Program was revamped, with some states phasing out actual stamps in favor of a specialized debit card system known as Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT), provided by private contractors. EBT has been implemented in all states since June 2004. Each month, SNAP food stamp benefits are directly deposited into the household’s EBT card account. Households may use EBT to pay for food at supermarkets, convenience stores, and other food retailers, including certain farmers’ markets.[5]


First Food Stamp Program (FSP) (May 16, 1939 – Spring 1943)[edit]

An effort to manage agricultural surpluses, the first food stamps came off the presses April 20, 1939.
Orange stamps were good for any grocery item the purchaser chose, except drugs, liquor and items consumed on the premises.
Blue stamps bought only surplus foods—dairy products, eggs, citrus fruits, prunes and fresh vegetables.

The idea for the first food stamp program has been credited to various people, most notably U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Henry Wallace and the program’s first administrator, Milo Perkins.[6] Of the program, Perkins said, “We got a picture of a gorge, with farm surpluses on one cliff and under-nourished city folks with outstretched hands on the other. We set out to find a practical way to build a bridge across that chasm.”[7] The program operated by permitting people on relief to buy orange stamps equal to their normal food expenditures; for every $1 of orange stamps purchased, 50 cents’ worth of blue stamps were received. Orange stamps could be used to buy any food; blue stamps could be used only to buy food determined by the department to be surplus.

Over the course of nearly four years, the first FSP reached approximately 20 million people in nearly half of the counties in the U.S., at a total cost of $262 million. At its peak, the program assisted an estimated four million people. The first recipient was Mabel McFiggin of Rochester, New York; the first retailer to redeem the stamps was Joseph Mutolo; and the first retailer caught violating program rules was Nick Salzano in October 1939. The program ended when the conditions that brought the program into being—unmarketable food surpluses and widespread unemployment—ceased to exist.[8]

Pilot Food Stamp Program (1961–1964)

The 18 years between the end of the first FSP and the inception of the next were filled with studies, reports, and legislative proposals. Prominent U.S. Senators actively associated with attempts to enact a food stamp program during this period included George AikenRobert M. La Follette, Jr.Hubert HumphreyEstes Kefauver, and Stuart Symington. From 1954 on, U.S. Representative Leonor Sullivan strove to pass food-stamp-program legislation.

On September 21, 1959, P.L. 86-341 authorized the Secretary of Agriculture to operate a food-stamp system through January 31, 1962. The Eisenhower Administration never used the authority. However, in fulfillment of a campaign promise made in West Virginia, President John F. Kennedy‘s first Executive Order called for expanded food distribution and, on February 2, 1961, he announced that food stamp pilot programs would be initiated. The pilot programs would retain the requirement that the food stamps be purchased, but eliminated the concept of special stamps for surplus foods. A Department spokesman indicated the emphasis would be on increasing the consumption of perishables.

Of the program, U.S. Representative Leonor K. Sullivan of Missouri asserted, “…the Department of Agriculture seemed bent on outlining a possible food stamp plan of such scope and magnitude, involving some 25 million persons, as to make the whole idea seem ridiculous and tear food stamp plans to smithereens.”[9][10]

Food Stamp Act of 1964

The Food Stamp Act of 1964 appropriated $75 million to 350,000 individuals in 40 counties and three cities. The measure drew overwhelming support from House Democrats, 90 percent from urban areas, 96 percent from the suburbs, and 87 percent from rural areas. Republican lawmakers opposed the initial measure: only 12 percent of urban Republicans, 11 percent from the suburbs, and 5 percent from rural areas voted affirmatively. President Lyndon B. Johnson hailed food stamps as “a realistic and responsible step toward the fuller and wiser use of an agricultural abundance”.[11]

Rooted in congressional logrolling, the act was part of a larger appropriation that raised price supports for cotton and wheat. Rural lawmakers supported the program so that their urban colleagues would not dismantle farm subsidies. Food stamps, along with MedicaidHead Start, and the Job Corps were foremost among the growing anti-poverty programs.

President Johnson called for a permanent food-stamp program on January 31, 1964, as part of his “War on Poverty” platform introduced at the State of the Union a few weeks earlier. Agriculture Secretary Orville Freemansubmitted the legislation on April 17, 1964. The bill eventually passed by Congress was H.R. 10222, introduced by Congresswoman Sullivan. One of the members on the House Committee on Agriculture who voted against the FSP in Committee was then Representative Bob Dole.

As a Senator, Dole became a staunch supporter of the program, after he worked with George McGovern to produce a bipartisan solution to two of the main problems associated with food stamps: cumbersome purchase requirements and lax eligibility standards. Dole told Congress regarding the new provisions, “I am confident that this bill eliminates the greedy and feeds the needy.”[citation needed] The law was intended to strengthen the agricultural economy and provide improved levels of nutrition among low-income households; however, the practical purpose was to bring the pilot FSP under congressional control and to enact the regulations into law.

The major provisions were:

  • The State Plan of Operation requirement and development of eligibility standards by States;
  • They required that the recipients should purchase their food stamps, while paying the average money spent on food then receiving an amount of food stamps representing an opportunity more nearly to obtain a low-cost nutritionally adequate diet;
  • The eligibility for purchase with food stamps of all items intended for human consumption except alcoholic beverages and imported foods (the House version would have prohibited the purchase of soft drinks, luxury foods, and luxury frozen foods);
  • Prohibitions against discrimination on basis of race, religious creed, national origin, or political beliefs;
  • The division of responsibilities between States (certification and issuance) and the Federal Government (funding of benefits and authorization of retailers and wholesalers), with shared responsibility for funding costs of administration; and
  • Appropriations for the first year limited to $75 million; for the second year, to $100 million; and, for the third year, to $200 million.

The Agriculture Department estimated that participation in a national FSP would eventually reach 4 million, at a cost of $360 million annually, far below the actual numbers.

Program expansion: participation milestones in the 1960s and early 1970s

In April 1965, participation topped half a million. (Actual participation was 561,261 people.) Participation topped 1 million in March 1966, 2 million in October 1967, 3 million in February 1969, 4 million in February 1970, 5 million one month later in March 1970, 6 million two months later in May 1970, 10 million in February 1971, and 15 million in October 1974. Rapid increases in participation during this period were primarily due to geographic expansion.

Major legislative changes (early 1970s)

The early 1970s were a period of growth in participation, concern about the cost of providing food stamp benefits, and questions about administration, primarily timely certification. During this time, the issue was framed that would dominate food stamp legislation ever after: how to balance program access with program accountability. Three major pieces of legislation shaped this period, leading up to massive reform to follow:

P.L. 91-671 (January 11, 1971) established uniform national standards of eligibility and work requirements; required that allotments be equivalent to the cost of a nutritionally adequate diet; limited households’ purchase requirements to 30 percent of their income; instituted an outreach requirement; authorized the Agriculture Department to pay 62.5 percent of specific administrative costs incurred by States; expanded the FSP to GuamPuerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands of the United States; and provided $1.75 billion appropriations for Fiscal Year 1971.

Agriculture and Consumer Protection Act of 1973 (P.L. 93-86, August 10, 1973) required States to expand the program to every political jurisdiction before July 1, 1974; expanded the program to drug addicts and alcoholics in treatment and rehabilitation centers; established semi-annual allotment adjustments, bi-monthly issuance, and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) “cash-out” (which gave the option to states to issue Food Stamp benefits to SSI recipients in the form of their estimated cash value consolidated within the SSI grant, in order to reduce administrative costs); introduced statutory complexity in the income definition (by including in-kind payments and providing an accompanying exception); and required the Department to establish temporary eligibility standards for disasters.

P.L. 93-347 (July 12, 1974) authorized the Department to pay 50 percent of all states’ costs for administering the program and established the requirement for efficient and effective administration by the States.

1974 nationwide program

In accordance with P.L. 93-86, the FSP began operating nationwide on July 1, 1974. (The program was not fully implemented in Puerto Rico until November 1, 1974.) Participation for July 1974 was almost 14 million.

Eligible access to Supplemental Security Income beneficiaries[edit]

Once a person is a beneficiary of the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Program he (or she) may be automatically eligible for Food Stamps depending on his (or her) state’s laws. How much money in food stamps they receive also varies by state. Supplemental Security Income was created in 1974.[12]

Food Stamp Act of 1977

Both the outgoing Republican Administration and the new Democratic Administration offered Congress proposed legislation to reform the FSP in 1977. The Republican bill stressed targeting benefits to the neediest, simplifying administration, and tightening controls on the program; the Democratic bill focused on increasing access to those most in need and simplifying and streamlining a complicated and cumbersome process that delayed benefit delivery as well as reducing errors, and curbing abuse. The chief force for the Democratic Administration was Robert Greenstein, Administrator of the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS).

In Congress, major players were Senators George McGovernJacob Javits, Humphrey, and Dole and Congressmen Foley and Richmond. Amid all the themes, the one that became the rallying cry for FSP reform was “EPR”—eliminate the purchase requirement—because of the barrier to participation the purchase requirement represented.[citation needed] The bill that became the law (S. 275) did eliminate the purchase requirement. It also:[citation needed]

  • eliminated categorical eligibility;
  • established statutory income eligibility guidelines at the poverty line;
  • established 10 categories of excluded income;
  • reduced the number of deductions used to calculate net income and established a standard deduction to take the place of eliminated deductions;
  • raised the general resource limit to $1,750;
  • established the fair market value (FMV) test for evaluating vehicles as resources;
  • penalized households whose heads voluntarily quit jobs;
  • restricted eligibility for students and aliens;
  • eliminated the requirement that households must have cooking facilities;
  • replaced store due bills with cash change up to 99 cents;
  • established the principle that stores must sell a substantial amount of staple foods if they are to be authorized;
  • established the ground rules for Indian Tribal Organization administration of the FSP on reservations; and
  • introduced demonstration project authority.

In addition to EPR, the Food Stamp Act of 1977 included several access provisions:[citation needed]

  • using mail, telephone, or home visits for certification;
  • requirements for outreach, bilingual personnel and materials, and nutrition education materials;
  • recipients’ right to submit applications the first day they attempt to do so;
  • 30-day processing standard and inception of the concept of expedited service;
  • SSI joint processing and coordination with Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC), the major cash welfare program;
  • notice, recertification, and retroactive benefit protections; and
  • a requirement for States to develop a disaster plan.

The integrity provisions of the new program included fraud disqualifications, enhanced Federal funding for States’ anti-fraud activities, and financial incentives for low error rates.

The House Report for the 1977 legislation points out that the changes in the Food Stamp Program are needed without reference to upcoming welfare reform since “the path to welfare reform is, indeed, rocky….”[citation needed]

EPR was implemented January 1, 1979. Participation that month increased 1.5 million over the preceding month.

Cutbacks of the early 1980s[

The large and expensive FSP proved to be a favorite subject of close scrutiny from both the Executive Branch and Congress in the early 1980s. Major legislation in 1981 and 1982 enacted cutbacks including:

  • addition of a gross income eligibility test in addition to the net income test for most households;
  • temporary freeze on adjustments of the shelter deduction cap and the standard deduction and constraints on future adjustments;
  • annual adjustments in food stamp allotments rather than semi-annual;
  • consideration of non-elderly parents who live with their children and non-elderly siblings who live together as one household;
  • required periodic reporting and retrospective budgeting;
  • prohibition against using Federal funds for outreach;
  • replacing the FSP in Puerto Rico with a block grant for nutrition assistance;
  • counting retirement accounts as resources;
  • state option to require job search of applicants as well as participants; and
  • increased disqualification periods for voluntary quitters.

Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) began in ReadingPennsylvania, in 1984.

Mid-to-late 1980s

Recognition of the severe domestic hunger problem in the latter half of the 1980s led to incremental expansions of the FSP in 1985 and 1987, such as elimination of sales tax on food stamp purchases, reinstitution of categorical eligibility, increased resource limit for most households ($2,000), eligibility for the homeless, and expanded nutrition education. The Hunger Prevention Act of 1988 and the Mickey Leland Memorial Domestic Hunger Relief Act in 1990 foretold the improvements that would be coming. The 1988 and 1990 legislation accomplished the following:

  • increasing benefits by applying a multiplication factor to Thrifty Food Plan costs;
  • making outreach an optional activity for States;
  • excluding advance earned income tax credits as income;
  • simplifying procedures for calculating medical deductions;
  • instituting periodic adjustments of the minimum benefit;
  • authorizing nutrition education grants;
  • establishing severe penalties for violations by individuals or participating firms; and
  • establishing EBT as an issuance alternative.

Throughout this era, significant players were principally various committee chairmen: Congressmen Leland, Hall, Foley, Leon Panetta, and, de la Garza and Senator Patrick Leahy.

1993 Mickey Leland Childhood Hunger Relief Act

By 1993, major changes in food stamp benefits had arrived. The final legislation provided for $2.8 billion in benefit increases over Fiscal Years 1984-1988. Leon Panetta, in his new role as OMB Director, played a major role as did Senator Leahy. Substantive changes included:

  • eliminating the shelter deduction cap beginning January 1, 1997;
  • providing a deduction for legally binding child support payments made to nonhousehold members;
  • raising the cap on the dependent care deduction from $160 to $200 for children under 2 years old and $175 for all other dependents;
  • improving employment and training (E&T) dependent care reimbursements;
  • increasing the FMV test for vehicles to $4,550 on September 1, 1994 and $4,600 on October 1, 1995, then annually adjusting the value from $5,000 on October 1, 1996;
  • mandating asset accumulation demonstration projects; and
  • simplifying the household definition.

Later participation milestones

In December 1979, participation finally surpassed 20 million. In March 1994, participation hit a new high of 28 million.

1996 welfare reform and subsequent amendments

The mid-1990s was a period of welfare reform. Prior to 1996, the rules for the cash welfare program, Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC), were waived for many states. With the enactment of the 1996 welfare reform act, called the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (PRWORA), AFDC, an entitlement program, was replaced that with a new block grant to states called Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF).

Although the Food Stamp Program was reauthorized in the 1996 Farm Bill, the 1996 welfare reform made several changes to the program, including:

  • eliminating eligibility to food stamps of most legal immigrants who had been in the country less than five years;
  • placing a time limit on food stamp receipt of three out of 36 months for Able-bodied Adults Without Dependents (ABAWDs), who are not working at least 20 hours a week or participating in a work program;
  • reducing the maximum allotments to 100 percent of the change in the Thrifty Food Plan (TFP) from 103 percent of the change in the TFP;
  • freezing the standard deduction, the vehicle limit, and the minimum benefit;
  • setting the shelter cap at graduated specified levels up to $300 by fiscal year 2001, and allowing states to mandate the use of the standard utility allowance;
  • revising provisions for disqualification, including comparable disqualification with other means-tested programs; and
  • requiring states to implement EBT before October 1, 2002.

As a result of all these changes, “participation rates plummeted” in the late 1990s, according to Slate online magazine.[13][quantify]

The Balanced Budget Act of 1997 (BBA) and the Agricultural Research, Education and Extension Act of 1998 (AREERA) made some changes to these provisions, most significantly:

  • using additional Employment and Training (E&T) funds to providing work program opportunities for able-bodied adults without dependents;
  • allowing states to exempt up to 15 percent of the able-bodied adults without dependents who would otherwise be ineligible;
  • restoring eligibility for certain elderly, disabled, and minor immigrants who resided in the United States when the 1996 welfare reform act was enacted; and
  • cutting administrative funding for states to account for certain administrative costs that previously had been allocated to the AFDC program and now were required to be allocated to the Food Stamp Program.

The fiscal year 2001 agriculture appropriations bill included two significant changes. The legislation increased the excess shelter cap to $340 in fiscal year 2001 and then indexed the cap to changes in the Consumer Price Index for All Consumers each year beginning in fiscal year 2002. The legislation also allowed states to use the vehicle limit they use in a TANF assistance program, if it would be result in a lower attribution of resources for the household.

Electronic Benefits Transfer

In the late 1990s, the Food Stamp Program was revamped, with some states phasing out actual stamps in favor of a specialized debit card system known as Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT), provided by private contractors. Many states merged the use of the EBT card for public welfare programs as well, such as cash assistance. The move was designed to save the government money by not printing the coupons, make benefits available immediately instead of requiring the recipient to wait for mailing or picking up the booklets in person, and reduce theft and diversion.[5]

Renaming the Food Stamp Program

The 2008 farm bill renamed the Food Stamp Program as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (beginning October 2008) and replaced all references to “stamp” or “coupon” in federal law with “card” or “EBT.”[14][15]

Temporary benefits increase from April 2009 to November 2013

SNAP benefits temporarily increased with the passage of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), a federal stimulus package to help Americans affected by the Great Recession of 2007.[16] Beginning in April 2009 and continuing through the expansion’s expiration on November 1, 2013, the ARRA appropriated $45.2 billion to increase monthly benefit levels to an average of $133.[16][17] This amounted to a 13.6 percent funding increase for SNAP recipients.[17]

This temporary expansion expired on November 1, 2013, resulting in a relative benefit decrease for SNAP households; on average, benefits decreased by 5 percent.[16] According to a Center on Budget and Policy Priorities report, the maximum monthly benefit for a family of four dropped from $668 to $632, while the maximum monthly benefit for an individual dropped from $200 to $189.[16]

Corporate influence and support

In June 2014, Mother Jones reported that “Overall, 18 percent of all food benefits money is spent at Walmart,” and that Walmart had submitted a statement to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission stating,

Our business operations are subject to numerous risks, factors, and uncertainties, domestically and internationally, which are outside our control. These factors include… changes in the amount of payments made under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Plan and other public assistance plans, [and] changes in the eligibility requirements of public assistance plans.[18]

Companies that have lobbied on behalf of SNAP include PepsiCoCoca-Cola, and the grocery chain KrogerKraft Foods, which receives “One-sixth [of its] revenues … from food stamp purchases” also opposes food stamp cuts.[18]


Because SNAP is a means-tested program, recipients must meet all eligibility criteria in order to receive benefits. There are income and resource requirements for SNAP, as well as specific requirements for immigrants, elderly persons and persons with disabilities.[19][20]

Income requirements

For income, individuals and households may qualify for benefits if they earn a gross monthly income that is 130% (or less) of the federal poverty level for a specific household size. For example: the SNAP-eligible gross monthly income is $1,245 or less for an individual. For a household of 4, the SNAP eligible gross monthly income is $2,552 or less. Gross monthly income is the amount an individual makes each month before any deductions, i.e. taxes, insurance, pensions, etc.[19]

Resource requirements

There is also a resource requirement for SNAP, although eligibility requirements vary slightly from state to state. Generally speaking, households may have up to $2,250 in a bank account or other countable sources. If at least one person is age 60 or older and/or has disabilities, households may have $3,500 in countable resources.[19]

Housing expenditure

The lack of affordable housing in urban areas means that money that could have been spent on food is spent on housing expenses. Housing is generally considered affordable when it costs 30% or less of total household income; rising housing costs have made this ideal difficult to attain.

This is especially true in New York City, where 28% of rent stabilized tenants spend more than half their income on rent.[21] Among lower income families the percentage is much higher. According to an estimate by the Community Service Society, 65% of New York City families living below the federal poverty line are paying more than half of their income toward rent.[22]

The current eligibility criteria attempt to address this, by including a deduction for “excess shelter costs”. This applies only to households that spend more than half of their net income on rent. For the purpose of this calculation, a household’s net income is obtained by subtracting certain deductions from their gross (before deductions) income. If the household’s total expenditures on rent exceed 50% of that net income, then the net income is further reduced by the amount of rent that exceeds 50% of net income. For 2007, this deduction can be no more than $417, except in households that include an elderly or disabled person.[23] Deductions include:

  1. a standard deduction that is subtracted from income for all recipients,
  2. an earned income deduction reflecting taxes and work expenses,
  3. a deduction for dependent care expenses related to work or training (up to certain limits),
  4. a deduction for child support payments,
  5. a deduction for medical expenses above a set amount per month (only available to elderly and disabled recipients), and
  6. a deduction for excessively high shelter expenses.[24]

The adjusted net income, including the deduction for excess shelter costs, is used to determine whether a household is eligible for food stamps.

Immigrant status and eligibility

The 2002 Farm Bill restores SNAP eligibility to most legal immigrants that:

  • Have lived in the country for 5 years; or
  • Are receiving disability-related assistance or benefits; or
  • Have children under 18

Certain non-citizens, such as those admitted for humanitarian reasons and those admitted for permanent residence, may also be eligible for SNAP. Eligible household members can get SNAP benefits even if there are other members of the household that are not eligible.[19]

Applying for SNAP benefits

To apply for SNAP benefits, an applicant must first fill out a program application and return it to the state or local SNAP office. Each state has a different application, which is usually available online. There is more information about various state applications processes, including locations of SNAP offices in various state, displayed on an interactive Outreach Map found on the FNS website.[25] Individuals who believe they may be eligible for SNAP benefits may use the Food and Nutrition Services’ SNAP Screening Tool, which can help gauge eligibility.

Eligible food items under SNAP

As per USDA rules, households can use SNAP benefits to purchase:

  • Foods for the household to eat, such as:
    • fruits and vegetables;
    • breads and cereals;
    • dairy products;
    • meats, fish and;
    • poultry
  • Plants and seeds which are fit for household consumption.

Additionally, restaurants operating in certain areas may be permitted to accept SNAP benefits from eligible candidates like elderly, homeless or disabled people in return for affordable meals.

However, the USDA clearly mentions that households cannot use SNAP benefits to purchase the following:

  • Wine, beer, liquor, cigarettes or tobacco
  • Certain nonfood items like:
    • soaps, paper products, deodorant
    • household supplies, and
    • pet foods
  • Hot foods
  • Food items that are consumable in the store
  • Vitamins and medicines[26]

Soft drinks, candy, cookies, snack crackers, and ice cream are classified as food items and are therefore eligible items. Seafood, steak, and bakery cakes are also food items and are therefore eligible items.[26]

Energy drinks which have a nutrition facts label are eligible foods, but energy drinks which have a supplement facts label are classified by the FDA as supplements, and are therefore not eligible.[26]

Live animals and birds may not be purchased; but live fish and shellfish are eligible foods.[26] Pumpkins are eligible, but inedible gourds and solely ornamental pumpkins are not.[26]

Gift baskets containing both food and non-food items “are not eligible for purchase with SNAP benefits if the value of the non-food items exceeds 50 percent of the purchase price. Items such as birthday and other special occasion cakes are eligible as long as the value of non-edible decorations does not exceed 50 percent of the price.”[26]

State options

States are allowed under federal law to administer SNAP in different ways. As of April 2015, the USDA had published eleven periodic State Options Reports outlining variations in how states have administered the program.[27] The USDA’s most recent State Options Report, published in April 2015, summarizes:

SNAP’s statutes, regulations, and waivers provide State agencies with various policy options. State agencies use this flexibility to adapt their programs to meet the needs of eligible, low‐income people in their States. Modernization and technology have provided States with new opportunities and options in administering the program. Certain options may facilitate program design goals, such as removing or reducing barriers to access for low-income families and individuals, or providing better support for those working or looking for work. This flexibility helps States better target benefits to those most in need, streamline program administration and field operations, and coordinate SNAP activities with those of other programs.[28]

Some areas of differences among states include: when and how frequently SNAP recipients must report household circumstances; on whether the state agency acts on all reported changes or only some changes; whether the state uses a simplified method for determining the cost of doing business in cases where an applicant is self-employed; and whether legally obligated child support payments made to non-household members are counted as an income exclusion rather than a deduction.[28]

State agencies also have an option to call their program SNAP; whether to continue to refer to their program under its former name, the Food Stamp Program; or whether to choose an alternate name.[28] Among the 50 states plus the District of Columbia, 32 call their program SNAP; five continue to call the program the Food Stamp Program; and 16 have adopted their own name.[28] For example, California calls its SNAP implementation “CalFresh“, while Arizona calls its program “Nutrition Assistance”.[28]

States and counties with highest use of SNAP per capita

According to January 2015 figures reported by the Census Bureau and USDA and compiled by USA Today, the states and district with the most food stamp recipients per capita are:[29]

State % of population
SNAP benefits
District of Columbia 22%
Mississippi 21%
New Mexico 22%
West Virginia 20%
Oregon 20%
Tennessee 20%
Louisiana 19%

According to June 2009 figures reported by the state agencies, the USDA, and Census Bureau, and compiled by the New York Times, the individual counties with the highest levels of SNAP usage were:

County (or equivalent) % of population
SNAP benefits
Kusilvak Census Area, Alaska 49%
Owsley County, Kentucky 49%
Oglala Lakota County, South Dakota 49%
Pemiscot County, Missouri 47%
Todd County, South Dakota 46%
Sioux County, North Dakota 45%
Dunklin County, Missouri 44%
East Carroll Parish, Louisiana 43%
Humphreys County, Mississippi 43%
Wolfe County, Kentucky 42%
Perry County, Alabama 41%
Phillips County, Arkansas 39%
Rolette County, North Dakota 39%
Ripley County, Missouri 39%
Ziebach County, South Dakota 39%


During the recession of 2008, SNAP participation hit an all-time high. Arguing in support for SNAP, the Food Research and Action Center argued that “putting more resources quickly into the hands of the people most likely to turn around and spend it can both boost the economy and cushion the hardships on vulnerable people who face a constant struggle against hunger.[30] Researchers have found that every $1 that is spent from SNAP results in $1.73 of economic activity. In California, the cost-benefit ratio is even higher: for every $1 spent from SNAP between $3.67 to $8.34 is saved in health care costs.[31][32][33] The Congressional Budget Office also rated an increase in SNAP benefits as one of the two most cost-effective of all spending and tax options it examined for boosting growth and jobs in a weak economy.[33]


A summary statistical report indicated that an average of 44.2 million people used the program in FY 2016, down from 45.8 million in 2015 and below the 2013 peak of 47.6 million.[34] SNAP is able to support 75% of those eligible for the program. Nearly 72 percent of SNAP participants are in families with children; more than one-quarter of participants are in households with seniors or people with disabilities.[35]

As of 2013, more than 15% of the U.S. population receive food assistance, and more than 20% in GeorgiaKentuckyLouisianaNew MexicoOregon and Tennessee. Washington D.C. was the highest share of the population to receive food assistance at over 23%.[36]

Average number of persons participating in the SNAP, 2000–2016. The number of participants increased due to the Great Recession, peaking in 2013, and has since fallen.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture (based on a study of data gathered in Fiscal Year 2010), statistics for the food stamp program are as follows:[37]

  • 49% of all participant households have children (17 or younger), and 55% of those are single-parent households.
  • 15% of all participant households have elderly (age 60 or over) members.
  • 20% of all participant households have non-elderly disabled members.
  • The average gross monthly income per food stamp household is $731; The average net income is $336.
  • 37% of participants are White, 22% are African-American, 10% are Hispanic, 2% are Asian, 4% are Native American, and 19% are of unknown race or ethnicity.[37]


Total program costs from 2000 to 2016. The amount increased sharply after 2008 due to the Great Recession, and has fallen since 2013 as the economy recovers.

SNAP benefits cost since the 1960s

Amounts paid to program beneficiaries rose from $28.6 billion in 2005 to $76.1 billion in 2013, falling back to $66.6 billion by 2016. This increase was due to the high unemployment rate (leading to higher SNAP participation) and the increased benefit per person with the passing of ARRA. SNAP average monthly benefits increased from $96.18 per person to $133.08 per person. Other program costs, which include the Federal share of State administrative expenses, Nutrition Education, and Employment and Training, amounted to roughly $3.7 million in 2013.[5] There were cuts into the program’s budget introduced in 2014 that were estimated to save $8.6 billion over 10 years. Some of the states are looking for measures within the states to balance the cuts, so they would not affect the recipients of the federal aid program.[38]

Food security and insecurity

While SNAP participants and other low-income nonparticipants spend similar amounts on food spending, SNAP participants tend to still experience greater food insecurity than nonparticipants. This is believed to be a reflection of the welfare of individuals who take the time to apply for SNAP benefits rather than the shortcomings of SNAP. Households facing the greatest hardships are the most likely to bear the burden of applying for program benefits.[39]Therefore, SNAP participants tend to be, on average, less food secure than other low-income nonparticipants.[39]

Self-selection by more food-needy households into SNAP makes it difficult to observe positive effects on food security from survey data.[40] Statistical models that control for this endogeneity suggest that SNAP receipt reduces the likelihood of being food insecure and very food insecure by roughly 30 percent and 20 percent, respectively.[41]


Because SNAP is a means-tested entitlement program, participation rates are closely related to the number of individuals living in poverty in a given period. In periods of economic recession, SNAP enrollment tends to increase and in periods of prosperity, SNAP participation tends to be lower.[39] Unemployment is therefore also related to SNAP participation. However, ERS data shows that poverty and SNAP participation levels have continued to rise following the 2008 recession, even though unemployment rates have leveled off. Poverty levels are the strongest correlates for program participation.

A 2016 study found that SNAP benefits lead to greater expenditures on housing, transportation, and education by beneficiaries.[42]

SNAP is closely related to poverty and unemployment

Income maintenance

The purpose of the Food Stamp Program as laid out in its implementation was to assist low-income households in obtaining adequate and nutritious diets. According to Peter H. Rossi, a sociologist whose work involved evaluation of social programs, “the program rests on the assumption that households with restricted incomes may skimp on food purchases and live on diets that are inadequate in quantity and quality, or, alternatively skimp on other necessities to maintain an adequate diet”.[43] Food stamps, as many like Rossi, MacDonald, and Eisinger contend, are used not only for increasing food but also as income maintenance. Income maintenance is money that households are able to spend on other things because they no longer have to spend it on food. According to various studies shown by Rossi, because of income maintenance only about $0.17–$0.47 more is being spent on food for every food stamp dollar than was spent prior to individuals receiving food stamps.[44]

Diet quality

Studies are inconclusive as to whether SNAP has a direct effect on the nutritional quality of food choices made by participants. Unlike other federal programs that provide food subsidies, i.e. the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC), SNAP does not have nutritional standards for purchases. Critics of the program suggest that this lack of structure represents a missed opportunity for public health advancement and cost containment.[45][46] In April 2013, the USDA research body, the Economic Research Service (ERS), published a study that examined diet quality in SNAP participants compared to low-income nonparticipants. The study revealed a difference in diet quality between SNAP participants and low-income nonparticipants, finding that SNAP participants score slightly lower on the Healthy Eating Index[47] (HEI) than nonparticipants. The study also concluded that SNAP increases the likelihood that participants will consume whole fruit by 23 percentage points. However, the analysis also suggests that SNAP participation decreases participants’ intake of dark green and orange vegetables by a modest amount.[48]

A 2016 study found no evidence that SNAP increased expenditures on tobacco by beneficiaries.[42]

Macroeconomic effect

The USDA’s Economic Research Service explains: “SNAP is a counter-cyclical government assistance program—it provides assistance to more low-income households during an economic downturn or recession and to fewer households during an economic expansion. The rise in SNAP participation during an economic downturn results in greater SNAP expenditures which, in turn, stimulate the economy.”[49]

In 2011, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack gave a statement regarding SNAP benefits: “Every dollar of SNAP benefits generates $1.84 in the economy in terms of economic activity.”[50] Vilsack’s estimate was based on a 2002 USDA study which found that “ultimately, the additional $5 billion of FSP (Food Stamp Program) expenditures triggered an increase in total economic activity (production, sales, and value of shipments) of $9.2 billion and an increase in jobs of 82,100,” or $1.84 stimulus for every dollar spent.[51]

A January 2008 report by Moody’s Analytics chief economist Mark Zandi analyzed measures of the Economic Stimulus Act of 2008 and found that in a weak economy, every $1 in SNAP expenditures generates $1.73 in real GDP increase, making it the most effective stimulus among all the provisions of the act, including both tax cuts and spending increases.[52][53]

A 2010 report by Kenneth Hanson published by the USDA’s Economic Research Service estimated that a $1 billion increase in SNAP expenditures increases economic activity (GDP) by $1.79 billion (i.e., the GDP multiplier is 1.79).[54] The same report also estimated that the “preferred jobs impact … are the 8,900 full-time equivalent jobs plus self-employed or the 9,800 full-time and part-time jobs plus self-employed from $1 billion of SNAP benefits.”[54]

Local economic effects

In March 2013, the Washington Post reported that one-third of Woonsocket, Rhode Island‘s population used food stamps, putting local merchants on a “boom or bust” cycle each month when EBT payments were deposited. The Post stated that “a federal program that began as a last resort for a few million hungry people has grown into an economic lifeline for entire towns.”[55] And this growth “has been especially swift in once-prosperous places hit by the housing bust”.[56]

In addition to local town merchants, national retailers are starting to take in an increasing large percentage of SNAP benefits. For example, “Walmart estimates it takes in about 18% of total U.S. outlays on food stamps.”[57]

Fraud and abuse

In March 2012, the USDA published its fifth report in a series of periodic analyses to estimate the extent of trafficking in SNAP; that is, selling or otherwise converting SNAP benefits for cash payouts. Although trafficking does not directly increase costs to the Federal Government,[58][59][60] it diverts benefits from their intended purpose of helping low-income families access a nutritious diet. Also trafficking may indirectly increase costs by encouraging participants to stay in the program longer than intended, or by incentivizing new participants seeking to profit from trafficking. The FNS aggressively acts to control trafficking by using SNAP purchase data to identify suspicious transaction patterns, conducting undercover investigations, and collaborating with other investigative agencies.

Trafficking diverted an estimated one cent of each SNAP dollar ($330 million annually) from SNAP benefits between 2006 and 2008. Trafficking has declined over time from nearly 4 percent in the 1990s. About 8.2 percent of all stores trafficked from 2006 to 2008 compared to the 10.5 percent of SNAP authorized stores involved in trafficking in 2011.[61] A variety of store characteristics and settings were related to the level of trafficking. Although large stores accounted for 87.3 percent of all SNAP redemptions, they only accounted for about 5.4 percent of trafficking redemptions. Trafficking was much less likely to occur among publicly owned than privately owned stores and was much less likely among stores in areas with less poverty rather than more. The total annual value of trafficked benefits increased at about the same rate as overall program growth. The current estimate of total SNAP dollars trafficked is higher than observed in the previous 2002–2005 period. This increase is consistent, however, with the almost 37 percent growths in average annual SNAP benefits from the 2002–2005 study periods to the most recent one. The methodology used to generate these estimates has known limitations. However, given variable data and resources, it is the most practical approach available to FNS. Further improvements to SNAP trafficking estimates would require new resources to assess the prevalence of trafficking among a random sample of stores.[62]

The USDA report released in August 2013 says the dollar value of trafficking increased to 1.3 percent, up from 1 percent in the USDA’s 2006–2008 survey,[61] and “About 18 percent of those stores classified as convenience stores or small groceries were estimated to have trafficked. For larger stores (supermarkets and large groceries), only 0.32 percent were estimated to have trafficked. In terms of redemptions, about 17 percent of small groceries redemptions and 14 percent of convenience store redemptions were estimated to have been trafficked. This compares with a rate of 0.2 percent for large stores.”[63]

The USDA, in December 2011, announced new policies to attempt to curb waste, fraud, and abuse. These changes will include stiffer penalties for retailers who are caught participating in illegal or fraudulent activities.[64] “The department is proposing increasing penalties for retailers and providing states with access to large federal databases they would be required to use to verify information from applicants. SNAP benefit fraud, generally in the form of store employees buying EBT cards from recipients is widespread in urban areas, with one in seven corner stores engaging in such behavior, according to a recent government estimate. There are in excess of 200,000 stores, and we have 100 agents spread across the country. Some do undercover work, but the principal way we track fraud is through analyzing electronic transactions” for suspicious patterns, USDA Under Secretary Kevin Concannon told The Washington Times.[65] Also, states will be given additional guidance that will help develop a tighter policy for those seeking to effectively investigate fraud and clarifying the definition of trafficking.

According to the Government Accountability Office, at a 2009 count, there was a payment error rate of 4.36% of SNAP benefits down from 9.86% in 1999.[66] A 2003 analysis found that two-thirds of all improper payments were the fault of the caseworker, not the participant.[66] There are also instances of fraud involving exchange of SNAP benefits for cash and/or for items not eligible for purchase with EBT cards.[67] In 2011, the Michigan program raised eligibility requirements for full-time college students, to save taxpayer money and to end student use of monthly SNAP benefits.[68]

In Maine, incidents of recycling fraud have occurred in the past where individuals once committed fraud by using their EBT cards to buy canned or bottled beverages (requiring a deposit to be paid at the point of purchase for each beverage container), dump the contents out so the empty beverage container could be returned for deposit redemption, and thereby, allowed these individuals to eventually purchase non-EBT authorized products with cash from the beverage container deposits.[69]

The State of Utah developed a system called “eFind” to monitor, evaluate and cross-examine qualifying and reporting data of recipients assets. Utah’s eFind system is a “back end”, web-based system that gathers, filters, and organizes information from various federal, state, and local databases. The data in eFind is used to help state eligibility workers determine applicants’ eligibility for public assistance programs, including Medicaid, CHIP, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), and child care assistance.[70] When information is changed in one database, the reported changes become available to other departments utilizing the system. This system was developed with federal funds and it is available to other states free of charge.

The USDA only reports direct fraud and trafficking in benefits, which was officially estimated at $858 million in 2012. The Cato Institute reports that there was another $2.2 billion in erroneous payouts in 2009.[citation needed] Cato also reported that the erroneous payout rate dropped significantly from 5.6 percent in 2007 to 3.8 percent in 2011.[citation needed]

Role of SNAP in healthy diets


The 2008 Farm Bill authorized $20 million to be spent on pilot projects to determine whether incentives provided to SNAP recipients at the point-of-sale would increase the purchase of fruits, vegetables, or other healthful foods.[71] Fifteen states expressed interest in having the pilot program and, ultimately, five states submitted applications to be considered for HIP. Hampden County, Massachusetts was selected as the Healthy Incentives Pilot (HIP) site. HIP is designed to take place from August 2010 to April 2013 with the actual operation phase of the pilot program scheduled to last 15 months, from November 2011 to January 2013.[72]

HIP offers select SNAP recipients a 30% subsidy on produce, which is credited to the participant’s EBT card, for 15 months. 7,500 households will participate HIP and an equal number will not; the differences between the two groups will be analyzed to see the effects of the program.[73] Produce, under the HIP, is defined as fresh, frozen, canned, or dried fruits and vegetables that do not have any added sugar, salt, fat, or oil.

Administrative responsibility[edit]

The Massachusetts Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA) is the state agency responsible for SNAP. DTA has recruited retailers to take part in HIP and sell more produce, planned for the EBT system change with the state EBT vendor, and hired six new staff members dedicated to HIP. DTA has agreed to provide FNS with monthly reports, data collection and evaluation.

Proposals to restrict “junk food” or “luxury items”

Periodically, proposals have been raised to restrict SNAP benefits from being used to purchase various categories or types of food which have been criticized as “junk food” or “luxury items”. However, Congress and the Department of Agriculture have repeatedly rejected such proposals on both administrative burden and personal freedom grounds. The Food and Nutrition Service noted in 2007 that no federal standards exist to determine which foods should be considered “healthy” or not, that “vegetables, fruits, grain products, meat and meat alternatives account for nearly three-quarters of the money value of food used by food stamp households” and that “food stamp recipients are no more likely to consume soft drinks than are higher-income individuals, and are less likely to consume sweets and salty snacks.”[74] Thomas Farley and Russell Sykes argued that the USDA should reconsider the possibility of restricting “junk food” purchases with SNAP in order to encourage healthy eating, along with incentivizing the purchase of healthy items through a credit or rebate program that makes foods such as fresh vegetables and meats cheaper. They also noted that many urban food stores do a poor job of stocking healthy foods and instead favor high-profit processed items.[75]

See also



Story 4: Obesity Expanding In America — Fat Ass Americans — Pandemic — Keeping America Fat — Promises Kept — Videos

See the source image

See the source image

The Complete Skinny on Obesity

Adult Obesity Facts

Obesity is common, serious and costly

  • The prevalence of obesity was 39.8% and affected about 93.3 million of U.S. adults in 2015-2016. [Read CDC National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) data brief PDF-603KB]
  • Obesity-related conditions include heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer, some of the leading causes of preventable death. [Read guidelines]
  • The estimated annual medical cost of obesity in the U.S. was $147 billion in 2008 U.S. dollars; the medical cost for people who have obesity was $1,429 higher than those of normal weight. [Read paper]

Obesity affects some groups more than others

[Read CDC National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) data brief [PDF-603KB]]

  • Hispanics (47.0%) and non-Hispanic blacks (46.8%) had the highest age-adjusted prevalence of obesity, followed by non-Hispanic whites (37.9%) and non-Hispanic Asians (12.7%).
  • The prevalence of obesity was 35.7% among young adults age 20–39 years, 42.8% among middle-aged adults age 40-59 years, and 41.0% among older adults age 60 and over.

Obesity and socioeconomic status

[Read the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR)]

The association between obesity and income or educational level is complex and differs by sex, and race/ethnicity.

  • Overall, men and women with college degrees had lower obesity prevalence compared with those with less education.
  • By race/ethnicity, the same obesity and education pattern was seen among non-Hispanic white, non-Hispanic black, and Hispanic women, and also among non-Hispanic white men, although the differences were not all statistically significant. Although the difference was not statistically significant among non-Hispanic black men, obesity prevalence increased with educational attainment. Among non-Hispanic Asian women and men and Hispanic men there were no differences in obesity prevalence by education level.
  • Among men, obesity prevalence was lower in the lowest and highest income groups compared with the middle income group. This pattern was seen among non-Hispanic white and Hispanic men. Obesity prevalence was higher in the highest income group than in the lowest income group among non-Hispanic black men.
  • Among women, obesity prevalence was lower in the highest income group than in the middle and lowest income groups. This pattern was observed among non-Hispanic white, non-Hispanic Asian, and Hispanic women. Among non-Hispanic black women, there was no difference in obesity prevalence by income.

Top of Page

Related Links

  • Obesity Prevalence Maps
    State-specific data on adult obesity prevalence using self-reported information from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) shows that obesity prevalence remains high in the United States.

Story 4: Obesity Expanding In America — Fat Ass Americans — Pandemic — Keeping America Fat — Promises Kept — Videos

See the source image

See the source image

See the source image

See the source image

Gary Taubes on How Big Government Made Us Fat

The Complete Skinny on Obesity

Sweet Revenge Turning the Tables on Processed Food (no vegetarian/vegan propaganda)

My Big Fat Body Full Documentary YouTube

The Weight of the Nation: Poverty and Obesity (HBO Docs)

The Weight of the Nation: Part 1 – Consequences (HBO Docs)

The Weight of the Nation: Part 2 – Choices (HBO Docs)

The Weight of the Nation: Part 3 – Children in Crisis (HBO Docs)


Our Fat Pets

Sixty percent of cats tip the scales at unhealthy weights, slightly more than the 56 percent of dogs. It’s not good for them.


By Susan Jenks

Like most cats, Max had a swagger in his walk. But because he was slightly overweight, the 15-year-old Maine coon began having trouble “jumping up on things,” his owner says, the extra pounds worsening his arthritis.

So his owner, Jaime Wilson, decided her pet needed to go on a diet — barely two tablespoons of dry food in the morning and again at night, along with a larger portion of canned wet food once a day and a supervised exercise program that included treadmill work and running through stationary poles.

“He was ravenous all the time,” his owner concedes. But after six months, “he’s very sleek and thin,” says Mrs. Wilson, who works at the University of Florida’s Small Animal Hospital in Gainesville, Fla. “Not having the extra pounds has been great for his joints.”

The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention estimates that in the United States, veterinarians now classify more than 100 million dogs and cats as overweight or obese, up from 80 million five years ago. Sixty percent of cats tip the scales at unhealthy weights, slightly more than the 56 percent of dogs.


Worse yet, many pet owners fail to recognize the potential severity of the problem, finding their pets’ weight gain of little concern or even “cute,” says Dr. Justin Schmalberg, service chief of integrative medicine at the University of Florida’s College of Veterinary Medicine in Gainesville. And show animals, often held up as exemplary models, he says, sometimes tend toward the pudgy side.

“In part, it’s an issue of perception,” Dr. Schmalberg says. “Generally, the public is more tolerant of obese animals than they are of thin ones. There’s not as much stigma with animals being overweight as with people.”

Obesity and the inflammatory effects of excess fat can bring a host of health problems. Max’s six-month journey to a healthier weight reduced his risk for insulin-dependent diabetes, the most common health problem veterinarians see in overweight or obese cats. Overweight dogs rarely develop this form of diabetes, veterinarians say, though large breeds often face joint injuries from excess weight, while smaller ones can have breathing difficulties if airways collapse.

Along with diabetes and arthritis, extra heft puts pets at increased risk for liver and kidney diseases, high blood pressure, heart failure and even some cancers. And at least one widely cited study in Labrador retrievers found that even moderately overweight dogs have shorter life spans than their lean counterparts.

Veterinarians assess a pet’s overall body health using a system similar to the body mass index, or B.M.I., used in people. Emaciated dogs or cats get the lowest score on a nine-point scale, obese ones the highest, with a desirable weight usually in the four to five range, says Dr. Deborah Linder, head of Tufts University’s obesity clinic for animals in Boston. An animal at six is considered clinically overweight, with a score of seven or more, obese.

Veterinarians also complete a physical exam to assess obesity, feeling over the rib cage by the animal’s armpit, “where tissue should be no thicker than the back of your hand,” Dr. Linder says. Another sign of healthy girth, she says, is a tuck in the belly, similar to an “hourglass figure.”


Although some pets are genetically vulnerable to unwanted pounds, others may have diseases like hyperthyroidism or Cushing’s disease, in which the adrenal glands pump out too much of a stress hormone, stimulating appetite. Once these conditions are ruled out, veterinarians say, aging itself poses an ongoing risk as metabolism slows — the pet version of middle-age spread.

Neutering or spaying also decreases an animal’s energy needs by a third, Dr. Schmalberg says, so “calories in, calories out,” takes on greater importance in maintaining a pet’s proper weight.

Researchers have recently identified another risk factor for pet obesity: rapid growth in early life, though the reasons for this remain poorly understood. “Dogs and cats that grow quickly are highly likely to become obese later in life,” says Dr. Alex German, a professor at the University of Liverpool in England.

But veterinarians single out overfeeding as the greatest contributor to pet obesity. Giving pets easy access to food around the house, or “free feeding,” can quickly add unwanted pounds, they say, as can an overindulgence in high-calorie treats. Throw small children into the household mix with “sneak feeding” and the situation becomes worse, says Dr. Sarah Nord, a staff veterinarian at Trupanion, a Seattle-based pet insurer. “It’s definitely not uncommon,” she says with a laugh.

Whether pets, like some owners, “stress eat” is difficult to measure. “In my experience, when animals are stressed, they tend to go off feeding,” Dr. Nord says. “But we don’t know.”

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