What’s Wrong with the Food Stamp Program?

First, SNAP participants have very low employment rates, partly because SNAP disincentivizes work. Moreover, the share of SNAP adults who are capable of work has grown over time.

Second, compared to other groups of Americans not receiving SNAP—both high- and low-income—SNAP recipients exhibit much worse health outcomes. In 2018 (the most recent year of data), 65 percent of SNAP adults age 50-64 had been diagnosed with diet-related disease, and 42 percent were obese.

Third, SNAP’s lack of dietary guidelines often leaves its recipients in poor health, preventing them from working and escaping poverty. A stated goal of SNAP is to help low-income households afford a nutritious diet, to promote good health.

Yet, SNAP has no nutritional standards and the data show that SNAP participants spend a large share of benefits on non-nutritious foods, such as sugary beverages and prepared desserts.

Angela Rachidi in testimony before the House Agriculture Committee, June 7, 2023.


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