January 28, 2023

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United States, meal vouchers are at risk of chaos

Snap provides support with grocery shopping
Snap provides support with grocery shopping

The United States has never declared that it has abolished poverty. But the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the federal assistance program that provides support in buying groceries to low-income families in the form of food stamps, has been an essential source of livelihood for 38 million Americans. However, this pandemic has made wages more volatile. It has become difficult for US citizens to prove their eligibility for the bonus. The danger is that you will lose it. and hunger.

A study conducted by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis found that American families with irregular incomes are less likely to have access to the federal food assistance program. According to economists, families whose income fluctuates near the eligibility threshold are nearly 40% less likely to receive food stamps. In the United States today, receiving windfall income is very common. According to the research, nearly 20% of households experienced a decrease in income of 25% or more in 2020. Seasonal workers and wage earners in the hospitality and service sectors are likely to have their hours reduced significantly or have uncertain employment.

Snap is one of the most effective programs to lift families out of poverty by providing them with a food budget so they can pay rent, bills, and medical bills, as well as fresh or frozen foods. The exchange, made by way of a debit card, is based on salary: when a family’s monthly income decreases, say if a parent loses their job, Snap dollars increase, while when salary goes up, as in the case of overtime, meal stamps decrease . Recipients must report increases and decreases in their monthly income, which becomes difficult when paychecks vary greatly from month to month. Welfare applicants may fear making errors in documents, as providing false information about their income can result in severe penalties and penalties.

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In Little Rock, Arkansas, the Snap application and income verification process was so complex that a call center was launched to help people with paperwork for the Department of Human Services. One employee said that starving residents may feel frustrated by the many steps they have to take just to get food. In New York City, the HR department failed to process 40% of applications in a timely manner last year.

The Department of Human Services has confirmed that benefits are only available to qualified applicants. So adjustments must be made if the family has a change in income or frequent salary changes. “We aim to make the process of applying or making changes to Snap’s status as efficient and transparent as possible,” Gavin Lesnick, head of the Office of Communications and Community Engagement, told UsaToday.

The problem, however, remains. And in the United States, bureaucracy threatens to complicate the lives of those in poverty.