For more than 34-million Americans, food stamps help them survive. Now there’s concern that proposed changes in that federal program could drastically cut those benefits. CBS Adriana Diaz reports.
After Patience Kollie and John Spinola’s rent nearly doubled, they moved into their car with their two kids: a toddler and a teenager. They say the stress and anxiety caused patience to go on medical leave, leaving the family on one income.
They say they survived thanks in part to food stamps, under the government’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, known as “SNAP.”
The average recipient receives about $127 a month. That’s $1.40 a meal, three meals a day. But an estimated 3.7 million Americans could lose their benefits next year if the government implements three proposed changes:
- Removing automatic enrollment for families who qualify for other government benefits.
- Reducing how much people can deduct for utilities like heat.
- And requiring more able-bodied adults to work at least 20 hours a week to receive benefits, unless they live in areas with at least seven percent unemployment.
Allison O’Toole runs the second largest food bank in the US in Minneapolis. Through another government program, Patience and John found a house they can afford. They plan to move this week and will not qualify for SNAP once Patience starts working, but they hope the program continues.