The administration of President Joe Biden has approved the largest increase in its history of aid from the program known as ‘SNAP’, the largest federal nutrition assistance in the US It is a public aid to individuals and families with low incomes so that they can buy various foods in certain stores.
With the new measure, starting in October, some 42 million Americans —That is, 1 out of every 8 citizens— will receive about $ 36.24 more each month. Until now they received, on average, about $ 121 per month.
The program is the current version of the food stamps introduced in the 1930s during the Great Depression and is still badly needed, especially in the face of the coronavirus pandemic crisis.
Some states are currently eliminating emergency food assistance programs or cutting access to them. This comes at a time when, according to the NGO Feeding America, food insecurity could affect more than those 42 million, including 13 million children.
In this sense, organizations and experts welcome the step taken by the Government, although they warn that even so, the entire population in need is not even reached.
In the words of the Lutheran pastor Fabián Arias, the members of the immigrant community —More than 13 million people— do not have access to these benefits because they do not have the necessary documentation.
“The problem is that, for the most part, of the people that I was attending and am still attending, are people who do not receive these types of benefits. How are the food coupons or the benefit that they have given from those paychecks? solidarity money. They are not accessing any of those benefits, “he summarized.
The challenge of making ends meet
The NGOs also warn that even when SNAP program aid is received, it is a complement, since almost the 90% of beneficiaries claim to have used all available resources for their feeding before the end of each month.
This, according to the organizations, illustrates the disconnect between program calculations and the life experiences of its beneficiaries. According to the Department of Agriculture itself, the 81% of them are people who are part of a working family, people with disabilities or the elderly with insufficient income.
As if that were not enough, food banks are warning that, although the economy is improving, more people still go to them than they did before the pandemic.
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