The state budget proposal approved last week by the North Carolina Senate would cut SNAP benefits (“food stamps”) for 126 children in Jackson county and 51,236 children statewide, according to data obtained by NC Child from the NC Department of Health and Human Services. A significant portion of the children who would lose SNAP benefits would also lose their free or reduced school lunch, since eligibility for that program is tied to SNAP enrollment for many children.
“No child should go hungry in North Carolina, yet hunger remains a serious issue for over 1 in 5 children in our state,” said Rob Thompson, Senior Policy and Communications Advisor for NC Child. “Children need food to grow strong, to stay healthy, and to thrive at school. Losing access to food assistance at home and at school hurts Jackson county kids and jeopardizes their long-term development.”
The benefits in question are 100 percent federally-funded, which means that eliminating them does not save any money in the state budget. With no impact on state spending, it is difficult to understand the motivation for eliminating such critical assistance.
The majority of families who would lose food benefits are between 130 percent and 150 percent of the federal poverty line. For a family of three, that means their household income is less than $30,630 per year.
“We’re talking about hard-working families who are doing their best to support their children and make ends meet,” said Thompson.
It remains unclear if the state House will include this provision in their budget proposal, which is expected to be released in the coming weeks.
To see a county-by-county breakdown of how many children would lose benefits under the Senate budget proposal, click here.