The national campaign to decimate the food stamp program will take its first step into cupboards statewide this fall, cutting aid to nearly 1.8 million in Pennsylvania, according to a new report from the left-leaning Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.
The cuts will take effect in November, when a stimulus act expansion of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) expires. A family of three will likely experience a cut of $29 per month.
“This small increase in food assistance has been a lifeline for many Pennsylvanians, a majority of whom work but earn low wages,” said Sharon Ward, Director of the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center, in a statement. “It has allowed many families to stay afloat during the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.”
U.S. House Republicans are currently pushing legislation that would cut more than $20 billion more from the food stamp program, which would deny benefits to more than 5.1 million people.
In June, it was reported that Pennsylvania "ranks among the worst in the nation for getting food stamps to the needy within 30 days, as required by federal law."
"Critics," Inquirer poverty-beat reporter Alfred Lubrano wrote, "say Pennsylvania causes backlogs by scrimping on caseworkers and emphasizing fraud prevention even though food-stamp fraud is rare." Advocates say that the controversial "asset test" that Gov. Tom Corbett implemented in 2012 — which denies benefits to anyone under 60 with at least $5,500 in assets, and $9,000 for seniors — has wasted time and resources.
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