Widespread Difficulty Getting Food on the Table Comes as Republicans in Congress Call for Further Cuts to SNAP
April 19, 2023 – According to a new report from ParentsTogether Action Action, a nonprofit parent and family advocacy organization representing more than 3 million families, parents across the US are already struggling to feed their kids the first month after additional COVID-era Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits expired for all US states at the end of February.
For close to three years, households that participated in SNAP received ‘emergency allotments’ that provided at least $95 extra/month per household to spend on food. However, the boost in benefits ended at the end of February of this year and millions of families saw a reduction of their monthly SNAP installment.
Between April 6, 2023 and April 9, 2023, ParentsTogether Action surveyed more than 550 primarily low-and-middle-income parents about their family’s economic security since the extra benefits expired in March. 63% of respondents said they were finding it hard to make ends meet right now, with 68% of those families saying that getting food on the table was their biggest challenge. 53% of families who saw their SNAP benefits decrease last month said they needed to rely on food banks or similar services.
This hunger cliff comes as Republicans in Congress double down on their efforts to restrict food assistance for millions of low-income Americans by cutting SNAP benefits. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s new debt limit proposal calls for expanding work requirements in order to participate in SNAP, and some House Republicans have suggested expanding those requirements further to include parents of children age 7 and older, which researchers say could impact more than 10 million people, including 4 million children.
Key data points include:
- Parents said that their biggest challenges were affording food (68%), paying for essential supplies like diapers, formula, and period products (53%), paying utilities (60%) or housing (44%). Notably, ParentsTogether found a 4% increase in food insecurity since members were last surveyed in February.
- The combination of lost benefits and rising prices has meant that 73% of parents report they can no longer save for the future, 61% have had to spend savings or other money saved for emergencies, and 44% can no longer afford enough food for their families.
- According to the survey, food prices, coupled with decreased benefits, are driving increased food insecurity. Large percentages of parents say they have had to either buy less expensive food (e.g. fewer fruits or vegetables) (68%) or switch food brands (65%). A majority of those surveyed said they have had to use food banks and similar services (53%) and 37% reported having skipped meals so that their children can eat.
- ParentsTogether’s survey also found that parents want to see increases in programs to help families get food on the table, with 68% saying they want expanded access to programs to help cover the cost of groceries and 53% wanting to see free school meals for all children.
“As millions of families who lost SNAP benefits in March struggled to feed their families, Republicans in Congress were putting together a cruel proposal to slash food assistance even further. Their timing could not be worse, said Ailen Arreaza, Executive Director of ParentsTogether. “Slashing SNAP benefits for up to 4 million children at a time when food distribution centers are seeing record demand is unconscionable – and we’re heard from parents across the country who are coming together to demand politicians strengthen SNAP, not weaken it.”
ParentsTogether Action launched a petition warning Congress not to cut SNAP further.