Food Stamps

Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

State auditors say the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare misspent $2.5 million in federal funding on salaries instead of using it for food stamps and other assistance for Idaho's poorest residents.

The finding by the Office of Performance Evaluation was part of the state's annual audit of how federal cash is used.

In Olympia, Washington policymakers are pondering whether to make an end run around looming cutbacks in the federally-funded food stamp program.

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho’s senators Tuesday sided with a majority of their colleges to pass the revamped farm bill. It now goes to President Obama for a signature. Both Idaho senators had said they were undecided in the days leading up to the vote.

CompassioninWorldFarming / Flickr

Idaho’s Republican delegation in the U.S. House voted early Wednesday in favor of the new farm bill. Rep. Raul Labrador and Rep. Mike Simpson cast votes in favor of the legislation, which cuts more than $8 billion in food stamp spending while ending a direct subsidy to crop farmers. It also expands crop insurance programs backed by the federal government.

Northwest residents who rely on food stamps will have to pinch their pennies even more. Starting Friday, federal food assistance benefits are being cut.

beancounter / Flickr

A temporary increase in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or food stamps, expires at the end of October. That means 47 million Americans, including 221,717  people in Idaho, will see less money each month for food.

Courtesy of Sen. Mike Crapo's office

Supporters of the Senate immigration bill got a boost today from the Congressional Budget Office.  The CBO report says the bill would boost the economy and reduce federal deficits.  But last night, the House approved an immigration bill increasing criminal penalties against anyone in the U.S. illegally. 

Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

The U.S. Senate passed a $955 billion Farm Bill Monday.  It covers everything from crop insurance to conservation, to commodity programs. 

But by far the largest part of the bill is for food stamps known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP.  States receive $760 billion for  those in need.  Right now, Idaho gets $29 million a month from the federal government for SNAP benefits.

Samantha Wright / Boise State Public Radio

As of January, more than 231,000 people in Idaho were on food stamps, now known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP.  The average Idaho recipient receives about $128 per month.  For many, that’s not enough, and they rely on food pantries and family members for help.  The Idaho Foodbank has a program designed to teach nutrition and food budgeting to those on limited incomes.

In January, 231,647 people in Idaho were on food stamps.  The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, helps low-income families.  But in Idaho, 17 percent of people are food insecure.  The hunger relief charity Feeding America says they don’t have access to enough food for an active, healthy life. 

Click on a county to find out how many people are on food stamps, and how many are food insecure.

Scott Graf / Boise State Public Radio

 

The USDA this week announced $4-million in funding to help equip more farmers markets with the ability to take food stamp swipe cards.  Idaho’s portion of the allotment is about $45,000. 

According to the USDA,  only ten of the state’s 58 markets have the technology to accept food stamp cards, known as SNAP cards.