Paper Sample on Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program

Published: 2023-12-12
Paper Sample on Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Policy United States Nutrition
Pages: 6
Wordcount: 1601 words
14 min read


SNAP, initially referred to as Food Stamp Program is among the essential anti-hunger policies in the United States (Policy Basics: The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) 1). It aims to provide crucial nutritional support for people with disabilities, low-income seniors, and low-income working households. This essay will discuss the problems that necessitate the policy, policy description, history of the policy, arguments in favor and against the policy, policy evaluation, and policy recommendation. SNAP is an efficient and effective policy that assists millions of vulnerable people.

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The Problem

Many Americans live under poverty and cannot meet their nutritional needs due to the low-quality food they afford (Policy Basics: The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) 1). These groups include low-income seniors, families working at low-wages, disabled people living on unchanging incomes, and households and individuals living in low incomes. SNAP policy is essential because it meets families' basic nutritional needs to help them through temporary hard times. It allows individuals and households recover to a better life. For instance, in 2015, the policy raised 4.6 million people far beyond the poverty line, including 366,000 and 2 million seniors and children, respectively (Understanding SNAP, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program 1). Moreover, SNAP ensures that the seniors' age with dignity, children are offered fair chances at healthy adulthood and that families can meet their basic needs. This policy makes sure that no American citizen goes hungry.

From a different perspective, SNAP plays a significant role in creating jobs and supporting the US economy. According to analytics, for every dollar that SNAP uses, 1.7 dollars are added to the country’s economy (Understanding SNAP, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program 2). A study conducted by USDA in 2010 found that between 8,900 and 17,000 job opportunities were created from every $1 billion used in SNAP funding.

Policy Description

SNAP offers targeted, timely, and temporary benefits to needy people to ensure they access nutritious food (Understanding SNAP, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program 2). The policy responds quickly to population changes and increased rates of unemployment and poverty. To cater for the residents' needs, the states administer the SNAP program (Policy Basics: The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) 1). The full cost of SNAP benefits is catered for by the federal government, and the rest of the cost is shared with the states which administer and operate the program. Above two-thirds of the SNAP program participants are families with children, and a third is composed of families with disabled people or seniors.

However, not everyone is eligible to get SNAP benefits. Eligibility rules are created at the federal level and unified throughout the nation. However, a state can adjust the program's aspects such as the value of a car that a household should have and still receive benefits from the SNAP program (Policy Basics: The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) 2).


SNAP was initially headed by the Food Stamp Program of 1939 and other early 1960s (Yaktine and Caswell 2). In1939, the program was developed to align increasing food surpluses to help the poor. The program arose from distributing commodities bought for a nonprofit and noncapital corporation to encourage domestic consumption of surplus food. In 1964, President Lyndon Johnson enacted the Food Stamp Act, which replaced the initial orange and blue stamps with food coupons. The participants were expected to buy and ensure a healthy diet for the family (Yaktine and Caswell 3).In 1971, there was the replacement of state-by-state rules of the program with standards for national eligibility. By 1974, the Food Stamp Program had spread throughout the nation.

In the 1980s, the legislators showed their interest in the cost and size of the program. They expressed the need for decreased frequency in adjusting the costs of living and reduced participation by necessitating the families to test gross income (Yaktine and Caswell 3). In 1996, the federal government gave the states greater administrative control, where they limited eligibility for able adults without dependents. In 2002, the states developed the Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) system for delivery benefits, decreased theft in the program, and reduced stigma resulting from paper coupons (history5). To date, the program has been improved to afford a nutritionally adequate diet for millions of low-income Americans.

Arguments in Favour

Individuals who argue in favor of SNAP policy state that the policy is the pillar of America's nutrition safety net (The Real Benefits of SNAP 1). USDA has provided several other programs for offering nutrition aid, including the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), Food Assistance for Disaster Relief, among others (Yaktine and Caswell 1). SNAP is believed to be an essential program in preventing food insecurity and hunger in America. The policy has also shown its efforts to boost the country's economy and raise consumer spending in grocery stores and supermarkets across the nation (The Real Benefits of SNAP 1). About 92% of the policy benefits help low-income households under the poverty line, and 56% go to households below the poverty line by half.

SNAP policy is considered one of the most significant and fastest economic stimulus (The Real Benefits of SNAP 3). A study conducted by the Economic Research Service of USDA found that for each $1 billion developed by SNAP creates 3,300 jobs in farms, $340 million in production activities of a farm, and up to 17,900 full-time jobs (Research & Analysis 2). Additionally, SNAP effective in assisting during economic downturns. Participating in the SNAP progress can occur during periods of economic retraction and expansion; hence when a country's economy suffers, SNAP can offer temporary and immediate safety to people who are fired from their jobs and, at the same time, sustain consumer spending.

Arguments Against

Individuals and a group of people who oppose the SNAP policy argue that the federal government wastes a lot of money helping non-disabled people who can work and earn enough money to cater to their needs (Smith 1). These people argue that two-thirds of the SNAP program participants are the elderly, children, and disabled, who are not allowed by their age and condition to work. Moreover, 44% of the people who rely on SNAP benefits have at least one household worker. For households with children, 55% have at least one employed person.

The government aims to slash SNAP’s spending. The government can achieve SNAP cuts by changing SNAP from a federal program into a federal-state program (Smith 2). This morphing is based on the current situation where the federal government creates the basic eligibility and benefit level standards, but the states can change them. About 100% of SNAP benefits are from federal government funds, and the costs of program administration are shared with the states. However, cutting SNAP spending would probably increase problems related to health and cause long-lasting harm to children.

Policy Evaluation

Snap is an effective and efficient program that assists millions of vulnerable Americans. SNAP has an economic benefit to the economy, prevents hunger and poverty, provides help during a recession, cultivates self-sufficiency, and disaster response (The Real Benefits of SNAP 2). Economically, an additional $5 benefit from SNAP creates a total of $9 in economic activities.

In 2009, SNAP provided $4.3 billion during the economic recession. An increase of $1 in SNAP benefits created an estimate of $1.79-$1.84 in the economy (The Real Benefits of SNAP 3). Through an increase in the benefits of the Recovery Act, SNAP provided above $40 billion in economic stimulus. In cultivating self-sufficiency, SNAP has helped American employees meet their nutritional requirements, meaning that they will be more productive and take minimal sick leave. Further, SNAP serves as the first responder in natural disasters (The Real Benefits of SNAP 4). In 2017, this program assisted families impacted by Hurricanes Irma, Harvey, and Maria in Florida, Texas, and Louisiana.

Policy Recommendation

SNAP policy pays attention to economic and health benefits without considering inequality from societal factors (Gaines-Turner et al. 2). Most of the SNAP participants would prefer to have money to purchase food and not depend on nutrition help from the program. ANAP promotes health and reduces food insecurity in a household. It helps put quality and healthy meals on the table, but the participants want to choose their foods. Additionally, SNAP does not address other factors that cause people to rely on low-quality foods, including housing, childcare, and transportation, among others. The policy should thus focus on these factors because it will negatively affect their health.


SNAP meets the nutritional needs of vulnerable Americans; thus, it is an effective and efficient policy. SNAP was initially known as the Food Stamp Policy and is aimed to provide nutritional support to disabled people, seniors with low-income, and households with children but living with low incomes. Opponents of the policy state that the federal government wastes a lot of funds in supporting the program. It is recommended that the policy should focus on other factors such as childcare and housing, which cause people to rely on low-quality foods.

Works Cited

“Policy Basics: The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).” Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 25 June 2019,

“Research & Analysis.” USDA, 2020,

“SNAP Eligibility.” USDA, 14 Aug. 2019,

“The Real Benefits of SNAP.” Snap To health, 2010,

“Understanding SNAP, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.” Feeding America, 2018,

and End Stigma.” American Journal of Public Health, vol. 109, no. 12, 2019, pp. 1664–1667., doi:10.2105/ajph.2019.305362.

Gaines-Turner, Tianna, et al. “Recommendations From SNAP Participants to Improve Wages"

Smith , Patricia. “The Trump Team's Poor Arguments for Slashing SNAP.” The Conversation, 6 Mar. 2020,

Yaktine, Ann L., and Julie A. Caswell. Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program: Examining the Evidence to Define Benefit Adequacy. National Academies Press, 2013.

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