(WKBN) – Among many changes and cuts announced in President Trump’s 2021 budget is a proposal to provide boxed food to those on food stamps.
The proposal replaces nearly half of those on assistance with a box of food instead of receiving all food stamps in funds.
“America’s Harvest Box” was proposed in previous budgets.
The food would be grown in the United States and delivered to the participant’s doorstep, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
According to the budget language, the food boxes would ensure that Americans in need would have access to a nutritious diet while reducing costs to taxpayers.
The proposal includes the following: (Source: U.S. Dept. of Agriculture)
• Under the USDA America’s Harvest Box proposal, all Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) participating households receiving $90 per month or more in benefits will receive a package of nutritious, 100-percent U.S. grown and produced food. Approximately 16.4 million households or about 81 percent of SNAP households would be impacted by this proposal.
• The amount of food received per household would be scaled to the overall size of the household’s SNAP allotment, ultimately representing about half of their benefits. SNAP participants would receive domestically-sourced and produced food in lieu of a portion of their SNAP benefits.
• USDA would utilize a model similar to that currently used to distribute USDA Foods to other nutrition assistance programs to provide staple, shelf-stable foods (such as shelf-stable milk, juice, grains, ready-eat-cereals, pasta, peanut butter, beans, canned meat, poultry or fish, and canned fruits and vegetables) to SNAP households at approximately half the retail cost.
• This proposal creates a new approach to nutrition assistance that combines retail-based SNAP benefits with delivery of USDA America’s Harvest Boxes supporting the President’s leadership on Buy American. This proposal is cost-effective, enhances the integrity of SNAP, and provides for states’ flexibility in administration of the program.
• The remainder of the household’s benefits will still be provided via the current Electronic Benefit Transfer card.
• This proposal would save $129.2 billion over the ten-year period between Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 and FY 2028. This estimate accounts for about $2.5 billion annually in additional administrative funds for states.
• USDA currently purchases a wide variety of food for several nutrition assistance programs, including the National School Lunch Program, the Commodity Supplemental Food Program, The Emergency Food Assistance Program, and the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations.
• States will be given substantial flexibility to distribute these food benefits to participants. States can distribute these boxes through existing infrastructure, partnerships, and/or directly to residences through commercial and/or retail delivery services.
The 2021 budget proposal also contains “bold proposals to reform work requirement for able-bodied participants.”
Under the proposal, adults would be required to work, participate in job training, or volunteer at least 20 hours a week in order to receive SNAP benefits.