WESTFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) - Combating fraud or feeding hungry families?
22News has information on the debate that will impact every Western Massachusetts family.
That debate in Washington is over cuts to the new Farm Bill. How much money should be eliminated from the Food Stamp Program?
We're all paying for it and one in seven people in Massachusetts benefit from it. It's called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, it's better known as Food Stamps.
Congress is close to cutting between $4 and $40 Billion from SNAP over the next ten years in its Farm Bill. The United States Department of Agriculture is in charge of the program
"We really won't know the exact numbers until it's all resolved over the weekend," said James Arena-DeRosa, Regional Administrator for the USDA.
It's unclear how much money Congress is going to eliminate from the Farm Bill, so it's too early to say how the state is going to protect its families who receive SNAP benefits.
"Mainly because there is so much uncertainly what is ultimately going to happen with the Farm Bills as they're rolling through," said Health and Human Services Secretary John Polanowicz.
SNAP benefits are different than the cash assistance programs in Massachusetts. They come from federal dollars. Plus, SNAP benefits cannot be converted to cash and can only be used to buy certain foods.
Some of the people who oversee the program in Massachusetts were at the Westfield Farmer's Market. Even with the looming food stamp cuts, the Farm Bill will continue to support SNAP benefits at Farmers' Markets.
"We were at a farmers market in the last week, so they would match a snap dollar, dollar for dollar up to $25 dollars in effect doubling the amount that individuals could use at that farmers market," said Polanowicz.