CA SNAP Recipients are Leaving Benefits Unused

( – Millions of Californians who qualify for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) don’t utilize the program, according to research from Nourish California.

The program offers an electronic debit card which can be used to purchase food for low-income individuals and families. The funds are refreshed monthly.

New research indicates that some people who qualify aren’t applying for the program. It’s been suggested that they aren’t aware of it, don’t know how to apply, or fail to hit deadlines.

Nourish California’s report suggests that 2.7 million people are eligible for the program, but don’t use it. The state would be able to acquire an additional $3.5 billion in federal funding for the program if more people took advantage.

California has a problem with food insecurity according to UCLA’s Center for Health Policy and Research. They claimed that over 3.4 million residents of the state went hungry in 2021 and 39% of adults couldn’t cover their food costs.

Eli Zigas is a director with the San Francisco Bay Area Planning and Urban Research Association (SPUR) who spoke about the situation with Newsweek. He said that other states have higher rates of residents utilizing their supplemental food programs and as such it should be possible to get more Californians to sign up.

Nourish California suggested the application process was “overly complicated and burdensome” which led to fewer people signing up.

Nourish Director Jared Call urged the state to “immediately prioritize improving” the program’s signup so that millions of Californians in need can access the funds and have regular meals. Call said as many as one in five people in California were suffering with regular food insecurity.

Nourish highlighted that college students face extra challenges to get enrolled in the program. They also claimed that a quarter of those who were queried about their use of the program experienced “unfair treatment.”

The program could be made more secure, however, after nearly $200 million was siphoned off the EBT cards by criminals who stole account information from legitimate users.

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