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David Sparks Ph.d SNAP Restrictions
by David Sparks Ph.d, click here for bio

Program: Line on Agriculture
Date: April 20, 2017

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The country’s largest nutrition assistance program could undergo big changes. Recently, a Congressional Committee heard testimony on the future of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, better known as SNAP which helps more than 40 million Americans get the help they need to put healthy food on the table. But questions have been raised about what types of foods will be covered with SNAP benefits and whether drug testing might be mandated in order to receive benefits. This is in an op-ed piece but as a taxpayer, I don't agree with providing benefits for people who were on drugs or paying for foods such as chips and soda.


Not everybody agrees with me. Here is Dr. Craig Gundersen, Endowed Prof. in agricultural strategy in the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Economics at the University of Illinois: “One group of proposals restricts what people can purchase, to impose restrictions with SNAP. Currently SNAP recipients are treated as adults and they are allowed to purchase whatever they wish with their benefits as befits the needs of their families. By imposing restrictions on what people can purchase, there will also be an increase in hunger in the United States because it would be stigmatizing. The second thing is to impose drug testing on recipients. The main consequence of imposing drug testing is some households who are using drugs and then may be tested for that, then the family loses the benefits which would hurt other family members. The other thing is, if you did drug testing, a lot of people would see it as demeaning and a stigmatizing thing to have to do.”


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