The real story of food stamps

Feeding America’s most vulnerable children

President Donald Trump wants to radically overhaul a critical safety net program that covers more than 42 million people — or roughly one in eight Americans.

His administration’s budget would slash funding for food stamps by more than $213 billion, or nearly 30%, over the next decade. The main way he’d do this is by having the federal government buy and send food to the vast majority of recipients, which officials say they could do for about half the price of doling out cash.

The package, called America’s Harvest Box, would be like Blue Apron for poor folks, White House Budget Director Mick Mulvaney said on Monday.

Republicans have long wanted to downsize food stamps, known formally as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP. They argue that the program is too large and rife with fraud.

Supporters, however, argue that food stamps are an effective benefit that keeps poor Americans from going hungry. They fear Trump’s plan would leave many people without the food they need.

There are many misconceptions about food stamps. Here’s how the program actually works.

Who is eligible for food stamps?

Households must meet three tests to qualify for food stamps. Their gross monthly income must be below 130% of the poverty line, or about $26,600 a year for a family of three.

Their net income, or their earnings after all deductions have been taken, must be at or below the poverty line. Meanwhile, families without an elderly or disabled person can’t have more than $2,250 in assets, while those with such a member may have no more than $3,500.


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