Submitted by ub on Sat, 11/02/2013 - 00:08

Just as Congress sits down in a new bipartisan conference committee to the hard work of funding the future of the food stamp program, the benefits known as SNAP have dropped as stimulus spending dating from the 2009 recession expires.

The cut of $5 billion for fiscal year 2014 equals to a $5.00 a day per recipient 21 fewer meals a month for a family of four, or 16 fewer meals for a family of three, according to the liberal Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

Nearly 50 million Americans participate in SNAP, around an 80% increase from 2007. Despite the escalating costs—from $35 billion in 2007 to $80 billion in 2012—food banks desperately want the federal government to continue the higher rate of benefits. The typical family gets $278 a month.

Anyone can apply for food stamps. To get food stamps, you must meet certain conditions. Everyone who is applying must have or apply for a Social Security number and be either a U.S. citizen, U.S. national or have status as a qualified alien.

US Congressman Serrano, representing The Bronx led a letter signed by 10 New York City Members of Congress urging a rejection of a series of proposed cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), which will cause further hunger and suffering in New York City and around the country. The letter was sent to congressional conferees working to reconcile the Senate and House versions of the Farm Bill, which contains the SNAP program. As of November 1, benefits are set to be reduced by an average of $36 per family.

“I’m outraged at the apathy some in Congress are showing regarding the SNAP benefit reductions,” said Serrano. “With record numbers of people in need of nutrition assistance, we cannot cut benefits. People are struggling and cuts will only increase hunger and suffering. I was proud to lead my fellow New York City Members in sending this letter to urge the conferees not to cut the SNAP program.”