LANSING, Mich. — It's a huge chunk of money every month, two billion dollars more to the federal govenment's snap program while that helps with uncertainty caused by coronavirus. While that helps with uncertainty caused by coronavirus, how long will that boost continue? How long will that boost continue or will the trump administration get what it's been asking for since last year? As huge cuts and program changes, Chris Stewart is looking into the impact as our country works to rebound.
Life can change in an instant. Jenny Showalter can tell you that. "I'm a single mom of two. I have a one year old and a six year old I basically became a single mom overnight a single mom of two overnight their father passed away in the end of October 2018.” She can also tell you about being a single mom, looking for work in a pandemic, with two kids NOW home around the clock. "it’s just impossible to find employment…and have hours enough to pay my bills, to pay my car insurance to put food on the table to buy diapers to buy wipes…there are so many things a single mother has to buy a daily weekly monthly that food is nearly impossible anymore.”
That is why she is one of the estimated 36 million Americans on SNAP. With coronavirus hurting business and putting people out of work nationwide, the government is giving SNAP an emergency boost. Increasing monthly benefits by 40-percent. "There is no living high off the hog when you’re on snap benefits.”
Amy Jo Hutchison has lived in poverty all her life. She used to be on SNAP herself. "i also read that each senator was authorized almost 40-thousand dollars for state office furniture and furnishings and this number is increased each year to reflect inflation. That thousand dollars a year in furniture is 360 dollars more than the federal poverty guidelines for a family of 7.”
In February, her congressional testimony on poverty in America went viral. "shame on you, shame on you, shame on me and shame on each and every one of us who haven't rattled the windows of these buildings with cries of outrage that a government thinks their office furniture is worthy of thousand dollars a year and families and children aren't.”
Earlier this year, the White House proposed 2021 budget called for $181 billion dollars in cuts to SNAP over the next decade. It also included stricter work requirements to receive benefits. A move, then, they said would encourage recipients to "move toward self-sufficiency."
But that was then, Coronavirus is now. While those cuts and changes are still included in the proposed budget. The USDA sent us a statement saying in part the agency will be as flexible as it can be moving forward during this changing time."we are going to be as flexible as we can"
A time that advocates see as an example of why SNAP is important.
As Jenny Showalter stated, “If I didn’t have it I would not be eating." Whether you're a single mom of two "I’ll just bluntly straight truth. We would not have any food on the table.” or someone struggling...now looking for help you never thought you would need.
Amy Jo Hutchison explained that “One of the things I’m seeing is the safety net is actually acting as a safety net. It’s catching people who have never had to rely on assistance.”
As far as how long people can expect increased SNAP benefits to continue the USDA tells US States that they can continue to ask for extra money as long as federal public health emergency or state issued emergency declaration is in place.
Additional Coronavirus information and resources:
Click here for a page with resources including a COVID-19 overview from the CDC, details on cases in Michigan, a timeline of Governor Gretchen Whitmer's orders since the outbreak, coronavirus' impact on Southeast Michigan, and links to more information from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, the CDC and the WHO.
View a global coronavirus tracker with data from Johns Hopkins University.
Find out how you can help businesses and restaurants struggling during the pandemic.
Also, get information about Rebound Mid Michigan, with stories, information and more about coming back from COVID-19
Join the Rebound Mid Michigan Facebook Group.
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