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Food And Food Stamps

The federal government provides food to those in need through several types of programs, including nutrition programs, and, most importantly, the Food Stamp program.

The federal government sponsors special nutrition plans to promote child welfare. Such programs, including the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP), provide federal grants of money and food to nonprofit elementary and secondary schools and to child-care institutions so that they can serve milk, well-balanced meals, and snacks to the children. Additional money is provided so that free or reduced-price food and milk can be given to children of needy families. These programs provide lunch and breakfast to children in public and private nonprofit schools. Pregnant and nursing mothers and their children up to age four who live in areas that have large numbers of people who are considered nutritional risks are eligible for a special program that supplies food supplements.

The Food Stamp program, as provided by the Federal Food Stamp Act of 1964, is the most significant food plan in the United States. Needy individuals or households obtain food stamps (or official coupons) that can be exchanged like money at authorized stores. Some states create electronic banking accounts that allow a person to purchase food using an electronic bank card. The person's account is debited the amount of the cash value of the stamps when he purchases food at a store.

The federal government pays for the amount of the benefit received, and the states pay the costs of determining eligibility and distributing the stamps. The value of the food stamp allotment that state agencies are authorized to issue is based on the "thrifty food plan," a low-cost food budget, reduced by an amount equal to 30 per cent of the household income. Prior to 1996, poor families with children that spent more than 50 per cent of their income for housing would have had their excess shelter costs included in calculating the amount of food stamps received. The 1996 law placed a maximum amount for the food stamp deduction for shelter costs.

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationFree Legal Encyclopedia: Alyce Faye Wattleton to Zoning - Further ReadingsWelfare - Federal Social Security Programs, A Brief History Of Welfare Reform, Food And Food Stamps, Public Housing