Food Stamps

Jack Rodolico

The head of the state's food stamp program gave testimony Wednesday that rebutted supporters of a bill that aims to reduce eligibility for the program. 

Andrew Filer via Flickr/CC

When it comes to Senate Bill 7, which lowers the income threshold for food-stamp  eligibility, among other changes, Democratic state senator Dan Feltes has some choice words:  "One of the worst bills I've ever seen."  And, also, "horrible." 

Feltes joined The Exchange this week, along with Republican state senator Jeb Bradley, co-sponsor of SB7, who  sees things vastly differently.

Allegra Boverman for New Hampshire Public Radio

For conservatives, the idea makes common sense: Require people who receive government assistance, such as food stamps, to hold a job or engage in community service.  Opponents, however, say this ignores challenges facing a population already weighed down by poverty. A bill in the Senate, SB7, would change income eligibility for food stamps, and includes some work requirements.  Opponents say it would exclude thousands of Granite Staters in need of assistance, but supporters argue it focuses on those truly in need.  


FILE

In a tie vote on Tuesday, the Senate Finance Committee put the brakes on a bill that would make it harder to get food stamps in New Hampshire. 

FILE

A  bill that would reduce the number of people who can receive food stamps in New Hampshire cleared the Senate Thursday along party lines.

According to the bill's critics, an estimated 17,000 families with children could lose benefits as a result.

Jack Rodolico for NHPR

A bill in the state Senate would tighten eligibility for SNAP benefits, commonly called food stamps. That bill was written, in part, by a conservative, Florida-based think tank that’s pushed similar measures around the country. 

N.H. Senate Bill Seeks To Limit Food Stamp Eligibility

Feb 21, 2017
Eden via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/5qAdh9

A bill in the State Senate could sharply reduce the number of people eligible for SNAP benefits, commonly called food stamps.

Senate Bill 7 would basically make it harder to get food stamps in New Hampshire by changing financial eligibility and other requirements for applicants.

On Tuesday, the Senate Health and Human Services Committee heard testimony against the bill from the New Hampshire Food Bank and New Hampshire Legal Assistance. Sarah Mattson Dustin, of Legal Assistance, told lawmakers the bill will downshift the cost of feeding low-income families.

 

University of New Hampshire researchers say the program known for years as food stamps has declined slightly in recent years, but remains an important support for people at risk for food insecurity and hunger.

The research by the Carsey School of Public Policy shows the decline from 13.6 percent to 13.5 percent between 2012 and 2013 in the use of Federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits. This was the first decrease since the recession began in 2007.

U.S. Department of Agriculture

A house committee heard testimony Wednesday on a bill that would restrict where the state’s low-income residents can use EBT cards.

The bill would ban people from using EBT cash benefits at businesses that primarily engage in tattooing and body piercing. The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Charles McMahon (R-Rockingham), says the ban would also extend to smoke shops and future medical marijuana dispensaries.

Food Pantry Provides What Food Stamps Can't

Jan 25, 2014
Seacoast Family Food Pantry of New Hampshire

The Seacoast Family Food Pantry began as the Ladies Humane Society in 1816 to assist families of fishermen. Now, it is still serving those in the community who need help. The pantry aids many families with children—and many elders. Jane is a widow living on a fixed income.

“There are a lot of things you can’t buy with food stamps, but down at the pantry, they cover just about everything that you would need in your household,” Jane said.

Wendy Longo photography / Flickr Creative Commons

Behind the numbers are the experiences of America's poor, which, more often than not, go unheard. This divide is the problem that N.H. writer and activist Dan Weeks addressed in the project he undertook last year, to travel around some of the poorest areas of the country by bus and see poverty close up, as well as the ways that it intertwines with a lack of political voice. Today we'll talk with him about the series of articles he wrote for The Atlantic on his trip and what he saw.

GUESTS:

Food stamp benefits to 54,000 New Hampshire households are being cut, as a temporary boost from the 2009 stimulus bill expires. 

During the recession, the federal government added more than $45 billion to the program nationally. But with that money spent, the nutrition assistance program now called SNAP is being scaled back.

New Hampshire families will receive up to $65 less each month. Terry Smith with the Department of Health and Human Services says that will have broader impact.

Food Pantry Provides What Food Stamps Can't

Jul 27, 2013
Seacoast Family Food Pantry of New Hampshire

The Seacoast Family Food Pantry began as the Ladies Humane Society in 1816 to assist families of fishermen. Now, it is still serving those in the community who need help. The pantry aids many families with children—and many elders. Jane is a widow living on a fixed income.

“There are a lot of things you can’t buy with food stamps, but down at the pantry, they cover just about everything that you would need in your household,” Jane said.

Ryan Lessard / NHPR

The New Hampshire Food Bank has been struggling to keep up with the demand of a growing number of residents. And these challenges might be compounded by budget cuts proposed by Congress.

WiscDeptNatlResources / Flickr/Creative Commons

The idea for doubling the value of food stamps at farmer’s markets came to Gus Schumacher in 1980. He was in Boston helping his brother, a farmer, clean up at the end of the day.

"I was packing up a box of pears at the Dorchester Fields Corner Farmer’s Market. And the box fell apart, and all the pears went into the gutter."

Schumacher figured he’d have to throw away the pears.

With more than 46 million recipients, the food stamp program has become one of the government's biggest benefit programs.

It has also become one of the biggest targets for those who think the federal government isn't doing enough to prevent fraud.