Did you know that 11 percent of Latines based in the United States live below the poverty line?
There is no doubt that systemic blocks and language barriers are at the core of why this is a reality. Yet, the community continues to push through, despite only getting access to a fraction of the resources available for people residing in the United States.
Now, with inflation and all the setbacks that the COVID-19 pandemic caused, financial stability is at the top of everyone’s minds. For some time, however, a lot of these thoughts lessened thanks to the benefits policymakers made possible. Some of these benefits included enhanced SNAP, commonly known as food stamps, and Medicaid benefits, which aided millions of families in the United States.
Yet, according to Axios, one of the last major COVID relief programs, the expansion of SNAP benefits, recently came to an end. Many people will go hungry as a result of this.
If we can recall, enhanced benefits were rolled out in March 2020 as part of the first pandemic relief bill. Due to that bill, SNAP recipients were eligible for the program’s maximum benefit.
Losing benefits can increase food insecurity
As reported by the Urban Institute, the increase in SNAP benefits from the reevaluated Thrifty Food Plan (TFP) kept nearly 2.3 million people out of poverty in the fourth quarter of 2021. It’s of note that the poverty reduction from these benefit expansions was the highest for Black, non-Hispanic/Latine people, and for Hispanic/Latine people. Consequently, these groups experienced reduced disparities in comparison to non-Hispanic/Latine white people.
But as these pandemic-era benefits come to an end, the disparities will be more pronounced than ever. This will affect the Latine and Black communities — who are usually served with a heavier hand.
As per the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) and information derived from a 2021 American Community Survey, about five million SNAP recipients have a Hispanic/Latine head of household. The CBPP also estimates that about four million Hispanic/Latine households will lose their enhanced assistance.
The reality is that though an extension of benefits was offered, people in the United States still underwent the perils brought by food insecurity. In 2022, for instance, 18 percent of Hispanic/Latine households with children were likely to experience food insecurity.
Though other benefits such as Summer EBT now exist, it doesn’t seem like this will be enough.
As if the heartache wasn’t enough already, according to the Hispanic Federation, underserved communities are set to lose their Medicaid and health benefits soon if they don’t re-enroll manually. More specifically, 4.6 million Hispanics/Latines are set to lose these benefits. If you or a loved one depend on these benefits, it’s important you start the process already.
It is evident that lawmakers have the power to help people out. However, it seems as though they are going back to pre-pandemic tactics, which included having people live in less-than-ideal situations. This is why it’s important to vote the right people in, otherwise, who will advocate for the poor and disadvantaged?