Yesterday, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to cut SNAP, or the food stamps program, by nearly $40 billion over the next two years, kicking nearly four million people off the program. The House bill achieves this primarily by denying SNAP benefits to unemployed workers and struggling families whose incomes are just above the poverty line. And it has a nasty side effect of causing children to lose their free school lunch when they lose their SNAP eligibility. It’s no surprise that this would be bad for West Virginia, and we’ve talked before about who receives SNAP benefits in West Virginia.
With yesterday’s release of the 2012 American Community Survey, new data are available about SNAP in West Virginia. So let’s take a look.
According to the ACS, in 2012, an estimated 116,622 households in West Virginia received SNAP benefits, or about 15.7% of all households in the state. Many of the households had elderly family members or children. Of those households receiving SNAP benefits, about 31,000 or 27% had at least one person 60 years or older living there, and about 54,700 or 46.9% had children.
More than half of SNAP households in West Virginia had a person with a disability living there in 2012. Approximately 67,700 or 58.1% of the households receiving SNAP benefits had one or more persons with a disability.
The majority of SNAP households are also working. An estimated 65.4% of SNAP households in West Virginia had at least one worker in 2012, and 18.5% had two or more workers. But, as shouldn’t be a surprise, those workers weren’t in high paying jobs. The estimated median income of a SNAP household in West Virginia for 2012 has $13,447, well below the poverty threshold for a family of two.
The ACS data just go to show that SNAP helps those that are working to support their children, the elderly, the disabled, and the poor. Punishing those who can’t find work or those who are working to support their children by taking away their SNAP benefits is senseless.
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