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Like Taking Candy From a Baby (and Milk and Vegetables and Peanut Butter)

September 19, 2013

Today, the House is expected to vote on the Nutrition Reform and Work Opportunity Act. The Act includes a $40 billion cut to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), popularly know as the Food Stamp Program, which provides nutrition assistance to over 45 million Americans.

Who Gets SNAP, and How Much Do They Receive?

  • 45 million Americans receive SNAP, and 47% of the participants are children under the age of 18.
  • 20% of recipients have no gross income, meaning they are living on SNAP benefits alone; another 19% of recipients have no net income, meaning their monthly bills exceed their income.
  • The average monthly SNAP benefit is $133.45 per person, or about $1.50 per person, per meal. Benefits are set to decrease by about $10 per person per month on November 1, when the 2009 Recovery Act’s temporary increase expires. The House’s proposed $40 billion cut would be on top of the expiring increase.

Why is This an LGBT Issue?

  • According to data released today from the Census Bureau, SNAP lifted 4 million people out of poverty in 2012.
  • If the House bill is passed, at least 4 million people will lose benefits entirely. Thousands of children whose free school lunches are tied to their family’s SNAP eligibility will lose that benefit as well.
  • The LGBT community is disproportionately poor:
    • 24% of lesbian and bisexual women live in poverty
    • African-American same-sex couples have among the highest rates of poverty compared to any other group
    • Of the approximately 1.6 million homeless youth in America, 20-40% identify as LGBT
    • Transgender people are more than four times as likely to be living in poverty
  • One of the largest cuts in the bill is for adults who are unable to find work. Currently, no federal law provides explicit legal protections for transgender workers based on gender identity/expression — and only 17 states and the District of Columbia offer these protections.  As a result, it’s harder for LGBT people to find work, and the eligibility cuts are likely to hit our community hard.

What Can I Do To Help?

Please take a moment to call your representative and urge them to vote “NO” on the House Republican leadership’s nutrition-only farm bill to cut $40 billion over 10 years from SNAP. This bill will increase hunger in America.

Call-in Number: (866) 456-8824.

When you call, you will be prompted to enter your zip code, in order to direct you to your district’s Representative. Special thanks to the folks at Feeding America for the toll-free number.

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