Non-perishable food donated to a food shelf.

file, Star Tribune

Letter of the Day (June 15): Food aid

  • June 15, 2013 - 12:10 PM

The farm bill recently passed by the Senate includes cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) — formerly known as food stamps — that will harm many families at risk of hunger (“Senate passes farm bill; House to take up issue this month,” June 11).

The Congressional Budget Office estimates that if these cuts are enacted into law, half a million households will lose $90 a month in benefits. In the House, proposals for even deeper cuts have been made. Supporters of these cuts are quick to point out that spending for SNAP has more than doubled since the beginning of the recession.

But this is exactly what the program is designed to do — increase in size to meet growing need. It has literally been a lifesaver during tough economic times. Others have criticized the program for inefficiency or for fraud by recipients, but the error rate for ineligible households receiving benefits or eligible households receiving benefits that are too high is just 3 percent. And most of the errors are caused by mistakes, not fraud.

The need for SNAP is real, and the program works extremely well. It would be a serious error to enact these proposed cuts into law.


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