The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, is easily one of the nation’s most vital welfare programs. One in five children rely on food stamps. For many the assistance is the difference between eating mayonnaise sandwiches or a balanced meal for dinner.
“If you’re on food stamps and you’re able-bodied, we need you to go to work,” Mulvaney said. “If you’re on disability insurance and you’re not supposed to be — if you’re not truly disabled, we need you to go back to work.”
Mulvaney’s intended point is inaccurate. Everyone on assistance is not sitting home, enjoying daytime television and collecting checks. 44% of those who are dependent on their SNAP benefits have someone in the family working. When looking at families on SNAP with children, 55% of them are bringing home wages. More importantly, SNAP requires that able-bodied adults without children find a job within three months and log a minimum of 20 hours per week or risk losing their assistance.
Statements like Mulvaney’s are being used to justify the $191 billion cut that has occurred in the past 10 years to SNAP benefits. These families aren’t mooching off the system. These are families that have fallen into poverty due to social and systemic complications. These are families who have been impacted by the recession or layoffs. These are families that are working hard but the pay is not enough.
Cutting the budget on assistance programs is dangerous, especially with so many families in a vulnerable financial state. No one knows when they will fall on hard times and need assistance, so it is important to respect those who do rather than shame or punish them for trying to get to a stable point.