Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program

Step 1: Recognizing the problem / setting the agenda

The FSP program came before the SNAP program. The program operated by permitting people on relief to buy orange stamps equal to their normal food expenditures; for every $1 worth of orange stamps purchased, 50 cents worth of blue stamps were received. Orange stamps could be used to buy any food; blue stamps could only be used to buy food determined by the Department to be surplus.

The program ended "since the conditions that brought the program into being--unmarketable food surpluses and widespread unemployment--no longer existed." People were violating this program.

President Kennedy's first Executive Order called for expanded food distribution and, on Feb. 2, 1961, he announced that food stamp pilot programs would be initiated. The pilot programs would retain the requirement that the food stamps be purchased, but eliminated the concept of special stamps for surplus foods.

Step two : Formulating the policy

On Jan. 31, 1964, President Johnson requested Congress to pass legislation making the FSP permanent. Secretary Orville Freeman submitted proposed legislation to establish a permanent FSP on April 17, 1964. The bill eventually passed by Congress. It went through Major Legislative Changes during the 1970’s. The Farm Bill had changes made in October of 2008, the name of the program nationally was changed to Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

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Step 3 : Adopting the policy

President Carter signed the Food Stamp Act establishing national standards of eligibility and eliminating the purchase requirements.The integrity provisions of the new program included fraud disqualifications, enhanced Federal funding for States' anti-fraud activities, and financial incentives for low error rates. Both the outgoing Republican Administration and the new Democratic Administration offered Congress proposed legislation to reform the FSP in 1977

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Step four : implementing the policy

The FSP began operating Nationwide on July 1, 1974. Participation for July 1974 was almost 14 million. The SNAP/Food Stamp Program is the largest nutrition assistance program administered by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Every 5 years, the SNAP/Food Stamp program is reauthorized by Congress as part of the Farm Bill. The reauthorization establishes who is eligible for SNAP/food Stamps and addresses program access, benefit levels, and other matters. There are things you can and can’t buy obviously. Look at the picture below to see what items you can and cannot buy with food stamps.

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Step five : Evaluating the Policy

SNAP lifted nearly 5 million people out of poverty in 2013. Participating in SNAP for 6 months decreased food insecurity up to 10%, including households with children. SNAP generates $1.80 in economic activity for every $1 in new SNAP benefits. This program helped a lot of people out over the years and will continue to do so.

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