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SNAP

Sabrina Rubich shopped for milk, bananas and other basics this week at an Albertson's grocery store in Missoula, Mont., with her nine-month-old son, Kenny. When she got to the checkstand she paid for some of her groceries with money from the USDA's Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP—which is issuing its February payments early.

Rubich is one of about 39 million people who are now spending their SNAP payments not knowing when the next one will come due to the federal government shutdown.

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One of the federal programs affected by the partial government shutdown is the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program, or SNAP. If the shutdown continues into March, funding for the program could run out. And in Florida that means a lot of low-income and homeless veterans may have to fend for themselves. More veterans in Florida rely on food stamps than any other state.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is proposing stricter requirements for people receiving food stamps.It’s part of the farm bill passed by Congress, and if these new measures are adopted, it could mean more people in Florida will go hungry.

Lawmakers unveiled the much-anticipated farm bill compromise Monday night, ending the months-long impasse over whether a critical piece of legislation that provides subsidies to farmers and helps needy Americans buy groceries could pass before the lame-duck session concludes at the end of the year.

While using food stamps to purchase vegetables at a farmers market may seem like a simple exchange, it depends on complex government contracting requirements and increasingly sophisticated technology.

Florida lawmakers are once again trying to reform the state’s food stamp program, which has more than doubled since the Recession. But unlike in previous years, the Republican-led effort could be making some in roads with Democrats. 

U.S. Senator Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) is urging the Department of Agriculture to extend the deadline for Floridians to apply for emergency food benefits in the wake of Hurricane Irma.

After waiting in long lines for food assistance cards after Hurricane Irma, some of the recipients in Miami-Dade are reporting the cards could not be used within the timeline they were given. 

The Department of Children and Families (DCF), which manages D-SNAP, the Florida disaster food assistance program, said it would take up to 72 hours for cards to be activated. In some cases, people were reporting a week later they still didn't  have any money on their cards. 

North Florida Congressman Al Lawson is launching his Let’s Feed America campaign, which aims to reduce hunger by expanding eligibility and making it easier for those in need to receive access to food. Lawson says 1 out of 4 people in the fifth congressional district have been on the SNAP Program or food stamps this year.

Rows of brightly colored chairs are set up on the little patch of grass outside FANM, the Haitian Women of Miami, a non-profit group that helps low-income families.

People sit in the Miami heat--some with toddlers in their laps--waiting to fill out FEMA applications and see what other kinds of help they can get in the wake of Hurricane Irma.

Florida Ranks 24th For Healthiest Aging Adults

May 30, 2016
U.S. Census Bureau

Florida ranks 24th in the United States for being the healthiest states for aging adults, according to the 2016 America’s Health Ranking Senior Report.

It's an improvement of three spots from last year, when Florida came in at number 27.

Food Stamp Recipients Face Work Requirement

Apr 7, 2016

About 300,000 Floridians who qualified for food stamps now face a work requirement that went into effect Jan. 1 -- and the possibility of at least temporarily losing benefits if they don't meet the guidelines.

Back when Laura Rollins first used food stamps for her family—more than two decades ago—she was sometimes embarrassed to use her  stamps at the grocery store.

“When we used to have those books of food stamps that you know that to me was embarrassing because that was telling everybody that was around me and letting them know that, ‘oh, she’s poor,’” Rollins recalls.

More With SNAP Buying From FL Farmers

Jun 29, 2015

Food stamp recipients in Florida are buying a lot more from farmers and farmers markets.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture says expanding access to fresh produce for SNAP recipients has been a top priority.

Redemptions under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly the Food Stamp program, have ballooned since 2008 by more than a thousand percent.

Amy Rupert-Secol is chief vegetable officer at Homegrown, a Central Florida food co-op. She says even more could be done to get low-income families to shop local.

More than 47 million Americans who receive food stamps will be getting a bit less starting Friday when a temporary benefit enacted as part of the federal stimulus expires.

The Department of Agriculture, which runs the Supplemental Nutrition and Assistance Program, or SNAP, as the food stamp program is formally known, says a family of four receiving $668 per month in benefits will see that amount cut by $36. One in 7 Americans receives food stamps.

This one almost snuck past us, but the combination of a cute dog and a local innovator with a cool invention once again caught our eye -- just like it caught the attention of new "Tonight Show" host Jimmy Fallon.

Marin / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Buying fresh fruits and vegetables can be a real problem for lower income people. A lot of neighborhoods don't have stores that carry them, and for many people the price is too high. Farmer's markets could be a solution, but very few of them accept food stamps.

It’s happening slowly -- but Central Florida farmer’s markets are opening the door to SNAP. That’s the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program that used to be known as food stamps. These days, recipients largely use an electronic benefits transfer, or EBT card that’s like a debit card.