Concerns With Administration’s FY2019 Budget SNAP Proposal

From our partners at the Food Marketing Institute

The section in the President’s 2019 Budget entitled ‘Reforming the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)’ certainly makes major changes, but not changes that SNAP-authorized food retailers see as positive or even efficient.

The budget proposal calls for diverting about half of the food-stamp allowance that most of the 16 million families who get SNAP benefits receive toward what the USDA is calling “America’s Harvest Box.” The box would be stocked with “100-percent U.S. grown and produced food” and include things like “shelf-stable milk, juice, grains, ready-eat-cereals, pasta, peanut butter, beans, canned meat, poultry or fish, and canned fruits and vegetables,” according to USDA.

In budget materials, USDA said it would be able to deliver this food at “approximately half the retail cost.” The remaining amount of the monthly SNAP benefit would still be available to recipients via traditional EBT cards, USDA said. The proposal applies to households receiving at least $90 a month in benefits, which covers more than 80 percent of recipients.

Reforming the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). The Budget proposes to strengthen work requirements for able-bodied adults and target benefits to the neediest households. The Budget also promotes the use of data and technology to improve program integrity and encourages State investments in evidence-based activities to help participants obtain and maintain employment. Finally, the Budget proposes to combine the traditional retail-based SNAP electronic benefit with the direct provision of nutritious and 100 percent American-grown USDA Foods to participating households. This cost-effective proposal “maintains our commitment to helping needy families avoid hunger while generating substantial savings.”