Implementing New Changes to the Food Stamp Program: A Provision Analysis of the 2008 Farm Bill

Source: Stacy Dean, Colleen Pawling, and Dottie Rosenbaum, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, July 1, 2008

From the summary:
The 2008 Farm Bill makes numerous improvements to the Food Stamp Program that will help low-income Americans put food on the table in the face of rising food and fuel prices.[1] Over the 2009-2017 period, the Farm Bill will add $7.8 billion in new resources for the program, according to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). The major food stamp provisions will:

• End years of erosion in the purchasing power of food stamps by raising and indexing for inflation the program’s standard deduction and minimum benefit. These changes will help about 11 million low-income people, including families with children, seniors, and people with disabilities. With these changes, food stamp rules will fully account for annual inflation for the first time since the program’s creation over 40 years ago, and food stamp households will stop losing food purchasing power each year.
• Support working-poor families by eliminating the cap on the dependent care deduction, reducing the chances that families will have to forgo food to pay for decent and safe child care.
• Promote saving by improving the program’s resource limits and excluding tax-preferred retirement accounts and education accounts from those limits.
• Simplify food stamp administration for participants and states by building on successful initiatives from the last (2002) Farm Bill.
• Rename and update the program, which will be called the “Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program” (SNAP); food stamp coupons will be eliminated.
• Strengthen program operations, integrity, and oversight and modernize benefit delivery, for example by creating a state option for telephonic applications and by improving oversight of state modernization efforts.

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