Letters to the Editor: Food Stamps Help Feed Over 1 Million in PA

Authored by Sharon Ward, originally published in the Erie Times-News

Food stamps help feed more than 1 million Pennsylvania children, seniors, and their families — a goal that has been achieved with a record high accuracy rate in recent years.

So it was disappointing to read misleading statements from U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly about food stamps in a recent Erie Times-News story ("20 percent in county get aid," Aug. 3).

Public accountability is an important goal for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, also known as food stamps. That's why it has one of the most rigorous quality control systems of any public program. It should stand out as a model for Kelly and other lawmakers.

Recent audits found that more than 98 percent of S.N.A.P. benefits go to eligible households. By contrast, the underreporting of business income costs the federal government billions in lost tax revenue every year.

The reality in today's economy is that households that work still can't make ends meet. Food stamps help bridge that gap. Many households that receive food stamps include people whose ability to work is quite limited, including seniors and people with disabilities. After paying for rent, medicine and other bills, many of these individuals have nothing left for food.

With the economy still weak, now is the wrong time for Congress to cut funding that puts food on the table for millions of American families.

Sharon Ward
Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center