The House Agriculture Committee approved its version of the farm bill last week, a bill that would cut over $16 billion in food stamp assistance over ten years. About 350,000 Nevadans are currently on food stamps – the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, known as “SNAP.”
Katie Planchon is a single mother of two who currently receives food stamp benefits. If the cuts go through, she says she will have to pare down an already skimpy food budget.
“I don’t know what more I would lose. It’s so much cutting corners now as it is,” says Planchon. “I’d lose nutritional value. I’d have to buy cheaper canned food. We’d have to live off Ramen. I would lose a lot.”
Jody Tyson, research and public policy manager for Three Square Food Bank says that the families who would be affected by the cuts are single parent families, like Planchon’s, and also families where one parent has lost their job, forcing the family to live on one income.
Howard Webb of Nevada’s Department of Health and Human Services says the families that will be affected by the cuts vary by income.
“If I could use Katie’s family as an example, her household size of three, we’re looking at a maximum income of $3,090 dollars,” says Webb. “That’s the gross monthly income that the family needs to be under before they can qualify for the SNAP program.”
Families whose SNAP benefits are cut may find themselves more reliant on local food banks, which will tax already over-taxed local charities.
“I’m nervous and I’m scared,” says Planchon. “Usually I use these food banks at the end of the month, but they would become my primary resource to provide essentials to my kids.”