How Food Stamps Really Started
How Food Stamps Really Started

How Food Stamps Really Started

Trista - January 15, 2020

How Food Stamps Really Started
The government established EBT cards so people wouldn’t become embarrassed about using SNAP. Action News Now.

4. SNAP Is Deposited On An 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.

How Food Stamps Really Started
SNAP is similar to food stamps, but the program changed over the decades.

3. How Does SNAP Work Today?

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.

How Food Stamps Really Started
Millions of Americans use food stamps, which allow them to cook well-balanced meals at home. Fox Chicago.

2. SNAP Focuses More On Eating Healthy

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.

How Food Stamps Really Started
President Trump and the controversy of food stamps. WFAA.

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.


Where did we find this stuff? Here are our sources:

“What is SNAP?” Getting Food Stamps.

“The Very Short History of Food Stamp Fraud in America.” Emelyn Rude, Time. March 2017.

“Food stamps may become like Blue Apron. In the Great Depression, they started with blue coupons.” Ian Shapira, The Washington Post. February 2018.

“History, Background, and Goals of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.” National Academy of Sciences. 2013.

“How Did Food Stamps Begin?” Christopher Klein, History. August 2019.

“A Short History of SNAP.” U.S. Department of Agriculture. September 2018.

“Overlooked No More: Isabelle Kelley, Who Developed a Food Stamp Program to Feed Millions.” Marguerite Joutz, New York Times. January 2019.