Here’s How The Government Shutdown Is Affecting Food Assistance Recipients
While America’s president continues to hold the framework of the government captive, families who depend on the SNAP Assistance program are watching the time tick down, are wondering if their food benefits will be the next casualty of war as Trump continues to advocate for his racist, xenophobic border wall.
The shutdown, which began in December, also affects the lives of thousands of government workers who are forced to report to their jobs without pay until congress is able to pass a budget plan, one which Trump demands he will not sign unless it includes funding for the border wall between Mexico and the United States.
About 45 million Americans rely on food assistance program, and nearly two-thirds of SNAP participants are children, elderly, or people with a disability, according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).
An estimated 3.86 million people use the SNAP Assistance program to purchase meals for their families. While some use food stamps to make up the cost of what their budget lacks for food, others depend wholly on the program to supply the essential nutrients needed to live.
USDA’s food assistance also includes the reduced school lunch program and the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program which provides families access to formula and approved nutritional foods for their children.
However, if the shutdown looms into February, those same number of individuals could lose access to their benefits if the agency runs out of their $3 billion reserves, CNN reports. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, the even distribution of the funds would result into a $90 benefit for the 19.4 million households which receive SNAP benefits, a decrease of $155.
WIC recipients may see cuts sooner–according to the National WIC Association, an advocacy organization who spoke with CNN, funding is only set to last through the end of January. The average WIC package is under $41 per person.
As an after-effect, local food banks around the nation are preparing to increase their stock as expected visits will increase.