At age 28, Lori never thought she would become too sick to work. But she did. Lori has PTSD, Hashimoto's thyroiditis and Fibromyalgia. In 2009, simple tasks became extremely painful to perform.
After successfully applying for Social Security Disability benefits, she could barely make ends meet. Although it was incredibly painful, Lori began working part time to pay for food, rent and basic needs.
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With nowhere else to turn, she applied for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits last year. From SNAP, Lori has covered her costs of living and avoided going hungry. If SNAP were to end or have stricter qualifications, her health would deteriorate and she would inevitably lose her home.
Lori is one of 47 million Americans who are food insecure. SNAP ensures that she and others don't go hungry. This week, the U.S. House will vote on the Farm Bill, which makes severe cuts to SNAP and the school lunch program, leaving millions of Americans without support. The Farm Bill cuts $20.5 billion from SNAP.
The Center of Budget and Policy Priorities estimates this would leave 2 million Americans without essential food assistance and cut 200,000 children from the school lunch program. SNAP works to ensure that children have enough food, that underpaid workers can feed their families, and that seniors don't have to choose between buying food or their medicine.
A young mother who needed SNAP said, "SNAP isn't a safety net, it's a trampoline." Illinois food banks have seen a 77 percent increase in requests for emergency food assistance over the last five years. They don't have the capacity to support additional needs that would be created from SNAP cuts.
Congress should be determined to prevent hunger, not demonizing or turning its back on those who need temporary assistance. The House must reconsider reckless cuts to SNAP for the benefit of our families, our children and our country.
U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky