Voices of Everyday Leaders

by Wandra Green | November 14, 2018 2:36 pm

SNAP Benefits Guarantees Family’s Food

Thirty-seven-year-old LeAnn is married with five children and five stepchildren (who live with their grandmother). She has a Master’s degree in business administration but can only find temporary jobs due to health issues. Her husband works two, full-time jobs, six days a week, and they still can’t make ends meet.

LeAnn and her husband were doing well in her hometown in South Dakota until she lost her job amid failing health. At that point, they moved to Kansas City, Missouri, hoping for better opportunities. Poor health, unaffordable housing and low-paying jobs have contributed to their intermittent need for SNAP benefits, formerly known as food stamps. 

She and her family don’t quality for Medicare or Medicaid, and she has been denied disability 13 times. Thirteen. She needs back surgery due to injuries from a car accident when she was 17. She needs gastric bypass surgery before she can get the back surgery. She suffers from fibromyalgia, severe migraines and other health problems. Fortunately for the family, they do receive assistance from Truman Hospital Discount coverage, which covers doctor appointments, some surgeries and some medications. Her husband has high blood pressure and diabetes. Medications for diabetes are not covered.

Their rent for the three-bedroom apartment is $798, plus utilities. They receive $850 a month in SNAP benefits. They got $1,005 prior to her husband starting a second job. They have received benefits off and on since 2005 when LeAnn lost her job.

In the NPR.org radio piece, “Republican Farm Bill Calls on Many SNAP Recipients To Work Or Go To School,” Some say the proposed work requirements in the Farm Bill will assist individuals in need to get back on their feet, and those who no longer need assistance to rejoin the workforce. Others believe it will deny families needed food, leading to more food insecurities and additional hardships.

In 2017, approximately 759,000 Missouri residents received SNAP benefits, approximately 12 percent of the population. Seventy-two per cent are families with children.

LeAnn’s family needs the safety net benefits, and she is concerned about the impact if her family loses them.

“SNAP keeps my children fed,” said LeAnn.

LeAnn needs surgeries, suffers from debilitating illnesses and her husband already works two jobs. Reducing SNAP benefits as their income increases or adding work or school requirements will not be beneficial.

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