The Supplementation Nutrition Assistance Program

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The Supplementation Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), prior to October 2008 referred to as Food Stamps, was legislatively established nationwide in 1974 by the United States Congress. However, the Food Stamp Act of 1977 established comprehensive reform of the federally supported entitlement program setting the structure of the program today (Food Stamp Act of 1977). SNAP provides in-kind monthly benefits to provide nutrition assistance to low income families and individuals. With over 22 million households in the United States being served by the program in 2014, SNAP continues to be the nation’s largest domestic nutritional assistance program (Hoynes & Schanzenbach, 2015). As a federally supported entitlement program, federal…show more content…
The early 1980s saw a decrease in funding for SNAP, even as participation in the program had continued to grow. In the late 1980s and 1990s, funding levels were increased, but there was a drop in the participation among those eligible (King, 1999). During the welfare reform periods of the mid 1990s, SNAP was one of the federal benefit programs that had limited changes compared to other welfare programs who had more drastic modifications as part of welfare reform. Welfare reform did create limited benefits for immigrants and did not allow those who had drug felonies to receive SNAP. Legislation in the late 1990s created the removal of some of restrictions on immigrants and gave benefits to those with disabilities (Hoynes & Schanzenbach, 2015). In the early 2000s food stamps began moving to Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cards, which were later mandated by the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002 (2002 Farm Bill). The reauthorization of SNAP as part of the 2002 Farm Bill and the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (2008 Farm Bill) created many of the eligibility criteria today (Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002; Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008; Young, 2008). Program Eligibility At the federal level, and therefore common across states,
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