Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program

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The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), which is commonly referred to as the "Food Stamp Program" or "EBT", is a form of federal assistance targeting the malnutrition of those living under a certain income threshold. In fiscal year 2011 there were over 21 million households and approximately 44.7 million individuals receiving aid via Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT)[1]. The program has seen a steady increase in enrollment over the past few decades. Between the years 2000 and 2010 the program more than doubled in the amount of individuals enrolled with around 17.1 million in year 2000, and 40.3 million in the year 2010 [2]. The cost of the program on a monthly, per capita basis also increased steadily from $72.62 in 2000 to 133.79 in 2010 [2]. In FY 2011 cost of the SNAP program totaled $ 71,812,234,428, or $ 133.85 a month per capita[1] . The distribution of nutritional assistance differs based on race, age, and gender.


History of SNAP

The program began as a pilot program in 1959 when P.L.86-341 authorized the Secretary of Agriculture to oversee the program until January 1962. President Eisenhower did not use the authority, but President Kennedy supported the program. In 1964 President Johnson asked congress to pass legislation making the Food Stamp Program permanent. Congresswoman Sullivan submitted H.R.10222, the bill eventually passed.[3]

History of the Food Stamp Program

The First Food Stamp Program

May 16, 1939 - Spring 1940 The idea for the first FSP is credited to various people, most notably Secretary of Agriculture Henry Wallace and the program's first Administrator Milo Perkins. The program operated by permitting people on relief to buy orange stamps equal to their normal food expenditures; for every $1 worth of orange stamps purchased, 50 cents worth of blue stamps were received. Orange stamps could be used to buy any food; blue stamps could only be used to buy food determined by the Department to be surplus.

Over the course of nearly 4 years, the first FSP reached approximately 20 million people at one time or another in nearly half of the counties in the U.S.--peak participation was 4 million--at a total cost of $262 million. 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 the program was Nick Salzano in October 1939. The program ended "since the conditions that brought the program into being--unmarketable food surpluses and widespread unemployment--no longer existed." [4]

SNAP Program in Connecticut

To be eligible to recieve(receive) SNAP benefits in Connecticut, your household income and other resources have to be under certain restrictions and are analyzed. Although, some households are able to have an asset limit. The income qualifications for SNAP are determined by the federal poverty levels (FPL). The gross income maximum is equal to 185% of the present Federal Poverty Level, and is the amount of income the household has before taxes and deductions. The gross income limit used for the majority of households. The gross income limit does not apply to households in which at least one person is 60 years of age or older, or receives disability income. Although, all households are obligated to a monthly net income limit. The net income limit is set to the Federal Poverty Level.[5]

Distribution Characteristics

Distribution By Race (Fiscal Year 2010)[6]
Race Individuals Enrolled Percent of Total Enrolled
White 13,395,000 33.7
African American 8,909,000 22.4
Hispanic 6,637,000 16.7
Asian 1,120,000 2.8
Native American 1,696,000 4.3

Distribution By Age (Fiscal Year 2010)[6]
Age Individuals Enrolled Percent of Total Enrolled
17 & Under 18,516,000 46.6
18-35 9,424,000 23.7
36-59 8,697,000 21.9
60 & Above 3,121,000 7.9

Distribution By Gender (Fiscal Year 2010)[6]
Gender Individuals Enrolled Percent of Total Enrolled
Male 22,405,000 56.4
Female 17,354,000 43.6

Income Threshold

SNAP Income Threshold 10/01/11 - 09/30/12 [7]
Size of Household Gross Monthly Income
1 $1180.00
2 $1594.00
3 $2008.00
4 $2422.00
5 $2836.00
6 $3249.00
7 $3663.00
8 $4077.00
Addition Member + $414.00


  1. 1.0 1.1 . "Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program." USDA.GOV. N.p., 2012. Web.
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program: Participation and Costs." USDA.GOV. N.p., 2012. Web.
  3. "A Short History of SNAP." USDA.GOV. N.p., 2012. Web.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Esa Eslami, Kai Filion, and Mark Strayer, . "Characteristics of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Households: Fiscal Year 2010." USDA.GOV. N.p., 2012. Web.
  7. . "Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program:Eligibility." USDA.GOV. N.p., 2012. Web.

(edit) The SNAP program is well documented above as being a program that put healthy food on the table for millions of impoverished and unfortunate Americans.The program supplements the budgets of low-income people by providing benefits via an electronic benefit card which is used like a debit card at most food retailers. Through nutrition education partners, the program helps clients learn to make healthy eating and active lifestyle choices.It currently provides about 46 million participants in about 22 million low-income households with debit cards they can use to purchase food each month. Because eligibility generally is not restricted to specific subgroups of people, SNAP serves a wide range of low-income households, including families with children, elderly people, and people with disabilities. Participants include families with adults who work in low-wage jobs, unemployed workers, and people with fixed incomes, such as Social Security. About 75 percent of SNAP recipients live in households with children; more than one-quarter live in households with seniors or people with disabilities. In recent years SNAP has achieved impressive results in meeting the needs of low-income Americans while maintaining strong program integrity and payment accuracy. Finally, SNAP also provides a significant boost to local economies. For every $5 in new benefits, $9.2 is generated in total economic activity.The reality that the insertion into the pockets on some citizens constitutes the increase of our overall economy validates the positive outcomes that arise from investment into the less fortunate citizens within the country because from there fortunate circumstances like the increase of the country's overall economic standing can happen. References: "" Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Web. 01 May 2012. <>. "Center on Budget and Policy Priorities." Sorry —. Web. 01 May 2012. <>.

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