While consumers felt that the Food Stamp Program should become nationwide as soon as the government passed the act, this wasn’t the case. In fact, it took another decade before the Food Stamp Program received nationwide status.
Over ten years, more and more states incorporated the Food Stamp Program, allowing all their counties to bring the program as part of their benefits. Puerto Rico became the last area to include the Food Stamp Program. Residents of Puerto Rico needed to wait until November 1, 1974.
7. The 1980s Saw Cut Backs In The Food Stamp Program
During the early 1980s, Congress realized that they couldn’t continue to see the program grow as it did because neither the Federal Government or the states could afford it. Therefore, the legislature enacted various cutbacks between 1981 and 1982.
First, the government added a gross income eligibility test for every household that applied. Next, they prohibited federal funding for outreach. Other cutbacks included annual adjustments in food stamp allotments, and Puerto Rico received a block grant for nutrition assistance instead of access to the Food Stamp Program.
6. EBTs Started To Push Out Food Stamps Starting In 1988
Today, people know food stamps as EBT and receive their funds through a plastic card. But, one factor they do not know is this process started in the late 1980s. The first EBT cards came out in Reading, Pennsylvania, in 1984. This became the test pilot for EBT cards.
The Hunger Prevention Act of 1988 pushed for more test pilot programs. Areas all around the United States continued to test the EBT cards instead of food stamp coupons. The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 told states they all needed to start implementing EBT by October 2002.
Today, food stamps are known as SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program). While the general idea for SNAP is the same as food stamps, the program focuses more on health and making sure families get healthy food over unhealthy food.
One factor that’s changed over time is that people can get food at other places than grocery stores. You can also get particular food at convenience stores and even some farmer’s markets. Instead of coupons, the money is automatically deposited on a plastic EBT card.
People receive their SNAP benefits through a plastic EBT card that looks like a regular debit or credit card. EBT stands for electronic benefit transfer, and people can’t tell if someone is using an EBT card or another card.
The main reason the American government decided to transfer SNAP benefits to a plastic debit type card is that people were embarrassed when they gave the cashier checks or coupons for food. Some people refused to take the benefit, even when they needed it, because of the embarrassment they felt.
SNAP is similar and different to the original food stamps of 1939. While they both help people put food on their table, SNAP focuses more on health. With SNAP, someone will receive the benefits without taking them from someone else, which means it’s not a welfare program.
SNAP is run by the United States Department of Agriculture, except in Massachusetts. The Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA) overseas SNAP in Massachusetts. Once you’re approved for EBT, you will receive your card and SNAP money every month. You do not need to give anyone cash for them to put SNAP funds into your EBT card.
One of the biggest changes made throughout Food Stamp history, other than the name change, is the food recipients of the program receive. When Food Stamps first started, the point was to help everyone from farmers to the consumer. Today, one of the most significant aspects of SNAP is to make sure people eat healthily.
While you can purchase unhealthy food with SNAP, there are restrictions. You are also persuaded to focus more on healthy food and ingredients that allow you to make a well-balanced meal for your family.
1. The Use Of Food Stamps Is Still Mixed To This Day
Over the past few months, the discussion of food stamps has skyrocketed due to United States President Trump creating a new food stamp rule which cuts the benefit for many people. While some people agree with this cut, often citing that people misuse the program, other people disagree by stating it brings more people close to poverty.
No matter what side of the fence you are on, you can’t deny that the history of food stamps goes back 80 years. However, one factor that hasn’t changed is that the program started as a way to help Americans put food on the table, and this is still the point of food stamps.
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