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Food Stamp Program Essay

1234 words - 5 pages

Food Stamp Act
During the 1930’s, the availability of relief for the poor in the United States was very limited and based from community and local institutions. In 1933, the first food assistance programs were established under the Federal Surplus Relief Corporation (FSRC) with the main focus of purchasing surplus agricultural commodities and distribute them to the poor or those receiving cash relief under the Federal Emergency Relief Act (Citation). However, it was not until August 31, 1964 that the Food Stamp Act (P.L. 88-525) was enacted. The Food Stamp Act of 1964 established was the first coupon-based system allowing participants to buy a variety of food with coupons, rather than restricting them to only surplus commodities (Citation). Participants of the Food Stamp program purchased coupons for an amount based on income and household size, and would receive free “bonus” coupons.
Nature of Problem
The Food Stamp Act of 1964 was first enacted to help alleviate the issue of surplus farm commodities and help poor or unemployed families. However, over the years the focus of the program has shifted to provide low-income families, the elderly, and individuals with disabilities an affordable and adequate diet. During the 1930’s, the United States’ population was suffering through the Great Depression with hunger being its most severe consequence. Hunger in the United States became a national issue since more than 8 million people were unemployed by the spring of 1931 (book citation). Furthermore, families were With the “paradox of want in the midst of plenty”
Policy Amendments/Changes
In 1939, there was an experimental food stamp program that was established in Rochester, New York. Eligible individuals had the opportunity to spend the same cash normally spent on food to purchase orange stamps, and receive $.50 worth of blue stamps for every dollar spent. Orange coupons could be spent to buy any kind of food, blue coupons were only used to obtain food the United Stated Department of Agriculture (USDA) declared as surplus. More than 4 million people were participating in this program, unfortunately, it was terminated in 1943. Furthermore, in 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Food Stamp Act of 1964 which resulted in the food stamp program being officially under the control of Congress. With the enactment of the Food Stamp Act, the Food Stamp Program became permanent. Participants were still required to purchase coupon stamps, and would receive bonus stamps to obtain a low-cost nutritionally adequate diet. During President Jimmy Carter’s term, the Food Stamp act of 1977 was signed and had notable changes. The Food Stamp Act of 1977 eliminated the purchase requirement associated with food stamps. Also, income eligibility guidelines were established based on the poverty threshold. It also established general resource limit; eliminated the requirement of household cooking facility; as well as established a program on Indian...

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