Posted by: SmithaM | December 10, 2011

Low participation leaves SNAP funds unused in some states.

California and Colorado are among cash-strapped states leaving billions of dollars on the table in federal food aid that could fuel growth by stimulating spending throughout the country.

Almost a third of people who qualify for food stamps aren’t getting them, the U.S. Agriculture Department estimates. In California and Colorado, about half of those who are eligible aren’t being served.

With tax collections well below pre-recession levels, escalating Medicaid costs and rising foreclosure rates, states are failing to take full advantage of the food stamp program, now known as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP, which generated $64 billion in retail sales last year, analysts say…

…While there’s no national estimate of the total dollar value of federal assistance going unused, California, Colorado and Minnesota are leaving a combined $5.8 billion in annual benefits on the table, according to estimates prepared by food- stamp advocacy organizations in the three states.

Administrative costs of SNAP programs, lack of staff to process cases at the state and county level, and large increases in people newly eligible for food stamps are among the reasons states don’t take advantage of all the federal money they’re entitled to, officials say. With the number of Americans receiving food stamps setting records every month but one since December 2008, states are scrambling to keep pace with double- and triple-digit caseload increases…

Read the complete news articles here.

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