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The Truth Behind SNAP Myths

Updated: Dec 3, 2021

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is a federal program designed to help millions of low-income people stretch their budgets and put food on the table.

At Second Harvest Food Bank, we truly believe that no one should feel ashamed about getting the nutritious food they need to stay healthy. Unfortunately, we know that there are also common misconceptions and myths about SNAP that unjustly stigmatize SNAP recipients and the use of the program.

It is important to debunk these myths and stereotypes surrounding food stamps and SNAP so that the people who need SNAP assistance feel comfortable receiving them. In this blog post, we will continue our SNAP education by sharing the truth behind some common SNAP myths.

MYTH: ”SNAP is a welfare program.”

FACT: SNAP is a nutrition assistance program that provides low-income individuals and families with much-needed nutrition support when money is tight. SNAP has been proven to lift people out of poverty and have a positive impact on households, communities, and the economy.

MYTH: “SNAP is a drain on taxpayers.”

FACT: Every $1 in SNAP benefits generates around $1.73 in economic activity. SNAP benefits are the most effective economic stimulus available.

MYTH: “You can’t get SNAP benefits if you have a job. SNAP is for people who can’t or don’t work.”

FACT: Individuals may work and still have low-enough income to receive SNAP benefits. The majority of able-bodied SNAP recipients that can work do work, debunking the myth that people who get SNAP choose not to work. In fact, nearly 80 percent of SNAP households nationally had at least one working adult in the home in 2018.

MYTH: “I will only receive the minimum SNAP allotment, so it is not worth applying.”

FACT: While some may only qualify for the minimum SNAP allotment, the amount of SNAP benefits you receive is determined on an individual basis based on the household applying. While some may receive $10 a month, the average SNAP benefit per person is about $101 per month, according to data from 2008. Additionally, regardless of the amount you qualify for, every dollar you receive can help go towards a nutritious meal.

MYTH: “Other people need SNAP benefits more than I do.”

FACT: Everyone who applies and is eligible will receive SNAP benefits. By receiving SNAP benefits, you are not taking benefits away from others.

MYTH: “SNAP is only for families.”

FACT: SNAP is for anyone and everyone who applies. Close to two-thirds of SNAP recipients are children, seniors, or people with disabilities. College students, able-bodied individuals, and households without children may also qualify for SNAP benefits.

MYTH: “Other people will know I use SNAP.”

FACT: Since the transition from physical food stamps to the Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card, it is now easy to access your benefits with the EBT card that looks and functions like a debit card. Simply run your EBT card through the credit card machine at the grocery store, and other people are unlikely to notice you are using SNAP benefits. However, remember that everyone deserves to eat and there is no shame in receiving government benefits if you need additional nutrition assistance to afford healthy meals.

MYTH: “You have to go to the office and wait for hours to get an appointment.”

FACT: Second Harvest Food Bank’s new SNAP application assistance program can help you fill out your application for SNAP benefits through your county’s Department of Jobs and Family Services. Our Response Center Specialist will ensure you have the necessary documentation and assist you through the application process. You can contact Kassi Brown at (937) 325-8715 ext. 103 or for any SNAP application assistance or questions.

To receive SNAP benefits, you must meet and fall below the limits for income and other resources. Check the current guidelines now to see if you are eligible to receive SNAP benefits. Over 15 percent of people who quality for SNAP are missing out on the benefits simply because they are unaware that they are eligible or are unsure how to apply. Don’t be part of that statistic — let us assist you with your SNAP application and get you the benefits you qualify for!

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