Living on SNAP

Your DGB for today is to learn about the SNAP benefits program and educate yourself about some of the myths and stereotypes.

Approximately 16% of the population of the United States receive benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). About half of those receiving SNAP are households where at least one adult is working. 40% of households who receive SNAP are white, and the majority of households that receive SNAP have either children, disabled, or elderly people living in the home. SNAP also has a time limit for receiving benefits if you are an able-bodied adult without dependents. If you are not working, you can only receive SNAP for three months in a three year period. So no, people on SNAP are not just “freeloaders,” because the system is set up to deter - not promote - that, contrary to many stereotypes. 70% of households with children on SNAP have at least one working adult. 

It’s important to note what people can and can’t buy on SNAP. You can’t purchase any non-food items on SNAP, and despite claims, no, you can’t purchase any alcohol or cigarettes with your SNAP benefits. SNAP also allows you to buy seeds, so beneficiaries can grow their own food, increasing the amount of healthy food coming into their home without drastically increasing how much they have to spend. 

So now that you are informed about SNAP, what else can you do to help or educate yourself? You can try to go a week on a SNAP budget, which ends up being roughly four dollars a day, per person. We aren’t asking you to do a Gwyneth Paltrow attempt at living off a foodstamps, but really research what people on SNAP cook and eat, and what added difficulties many have, like not having a car to grocery shop, living in a food desert, or having limited amounts of time to cook because you are working one or two jobs.

If you want to go even farther, consider donating your family’s approximate daily or weekly SNAP benefits to a local food bank, because many people still have to supplement their diets. For a family of four, that’s $16 for a day or $112 for the week. Benefits are in jeopardy because of the current administration and its horrific budget plans, so it’s more important than ever that we learn how important SNAP is to those who need the help. Grab back armed with facts, and dispel some of those food stamp myths.