kids nutrition

Budget Cuts Could Leave 22 Million Children Without Food Stamps

Some 22 million children who depend on the federal nutrition assistance program that replaced food stamps could lose their benefits under a 2013 budget resolution recently approved by the House Agricultural Committee. The budget, approved in April, would cut more than $33 billion over the next 10 years from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Approximately one third of the proposed cuts are directed at “categorical eligibility” restrictions that could leave as many as two million people per year ineligible for SNAP benefits. The proposed bill would also eliminate more than 250,000 children from automatic enrollment in the Free School Lunch and Breakfast Program. Their benefits could vanish as early as this year if the budget is passed.

Food is Fundamental, Only Don’t Ask Newt Gingrich

On January 21 Newt Gingrich won the South Carolina Primary. But he did it, in part, by using racist rhetoric, characterizing President Obama as “the best food stamp president in American history.” Since then, he has continued to drive this distortion hoping it will somehow resonate with voters. It’s not likely to work, because most Americans understand that food is fundamental. Presidents do not put people onto the food stamp rolls.

Kansas Cuts Out Food Stamps for Many Children of Illegal Immigrants

A new formula for calculating who receives food stamps in Kansas has left many U.S.-born children of illegal immigrants without aid. The change affects the Supplemental Nutrition and Assistance Program (SNAP), a federal program administered individually by the states. By law, illegal immigrants are not eligible for food stamps but their U.S.-born children are, according to The Kansas City Star. Previously, Kansas excluded illegal immigrants as members of the household in the formula but adjusted the family’s income proportionately. The new rule doesn’t adjust the income, so a family’s earnings are spread over fewer people in the calculation.

As Economy Sags More Students Receiving Free School Lunches

As families continue to struggle during the economic crisis, record numbers of students are receiving free or low-cost school lunches. Department of Education officials reported that 52 percent of fourth graders are now enrolled in the free and reduced lunch program, up from 49 percent in 2009. Last school year, 21 million students received subsidized school lunches, up 17 percent from 18 million in 2006-2007, The New York Times reports. In that same period 11 states saw increases of 25 percent or more as layoffs severely cut into family incomes. The Agricultural Department reports that all 50 states have seen increases in enrollment. Students qualify for free lunches if their families have incomes up to 130 percent of the federal poverty level, or $29,055 for a family of four. In a four-member household with income up to $41,348, children qualify for a subsidized lunch priced at 40 cents.