Date of Award

5-8-2014

Document Type

Capstone

Degree Name

Master of Public Policy and Management (PPM)

Department

Public Policy and Management

First Advisor

Dr. Lisa Morris

Keywords

SNAP, Supplemental Butrition Assistance Program, Low income households, Food Stamps, Muskie School of Public Service

Abstract

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is a federal program administered by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). SNAP is designed to provide assistance in purchasing food to low income households in the United States. In Maine, individual benefits are administered by the Maine Department of Health and Human Services. Formerly (and still colloquially) known as the Food Stamp program, SNAP makes a dollar-value benefit, based on income, household size, household expenses, and a host of other factors, available to households via a debit or Electronic Benefit Card for the purchase of unprepared food from grocery and convenience stores, among other retail establishments. An estimated 46,542,005 of households in the US received SNAP benefits in January 2014 ("SNAP Current Participation - Persons"), with $274.98 being the median household benefit in FY2013 ("SNAP Average Monthly Benefits per Households", 2014). Between 2008 and 2009, there was a 19.8% increase nationally in the number of households that received SNAP (Loveless, 2010), and since then SNAP reliance has remained high as the job market has remained soft (Stone et al, 2013). Despite this, the program is increasingly under scrutiny from the Republican-controlled US House of Representatives that hopes to narrow the programs’ scope, even as more families rely on it as part of the overall household budget.

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