09/20/2013 11:40 am ET Updated Sep 20, 2013

Food Stamp Cuts Could Have Major Impact In Florida


Thursday the House of Representatives voted to cut $40 billion in food stamps over the next 10 years, a move particularly worrisome in Florida where 1 in 5 residents receive nutrition assistance (SNAP).

GOP backers argued the measure would help more people find jobs.

To that end, the bill denies SNAP benefits to adults, ages 18-50, who are not disabled, raising children, enrolled in training, or working at least 20 hours per week.

In Florida, that means over 400,000 could lose food assistance, according to 2011 figures compiled by the Center on Budget and Policy Policies.

The work requirement is troublesome in Florida where high unemployment plagues the state even four years after the recession officially ended.

Unemployment even reached 12.5 percent in 2010 in Miami-Dade, a metro area where nearly one in four families fell below the poverty line in 2012, reports the Miami Herald.

For those earning a paycheck, a new study shows that Florida, particularly South Florida, is among the nation's worst for income recovery since the recession.

"Food stamp eligibility is more closely linked to the absence of income than the absence of a job," Patrick Mason, a labor economist at Florida State University, told the Tampa Tribune. "'Employed' doesn't mean 'full-time job.' 'Employed' does not equal 'job with above-poverty wages.' "

Statistics also show that Florida had the second highest increase in food stamps from 2008 to 2013, when the amount of those eligible doubled from 1,505,590 to 3,568,672.

Read the requirements for Florida food assistance here.

Meanwhile food stamps are not enough to keep up with the basic nutrition needs of the state's struggling families.

We’ve already increased our (food collections) from 72 million pounds to 170 million pounds in the past four years. And that’s with SNAP,” Florida Association of Food Banks' Rebecca Brislain told News Press.



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