WASHINGTON, Jan. 27 (UPI) -- The president's fiscal year 2017 budget calls for $12 billion over the next decade for the summer meal program for low-income children, the White House announced Wednesday.
The Summer Electronic Benefits Transfer for Children provides meals during the summer for children who are eligible for free and reduced school meals during the school year.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture also plans to increase access to school meals for low-income students, it was announced, by allowing states to access Medicaid data, reducing the amount of paperwork for applicants. The pilot program, which will start in the 2016-2017 school year, will be implemented in 20 states initially.
The announcement comes after a report by the White House Council of Economic Advisers found the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, commonly known as the Food Stamp program, is essential to reducing poverty.
"Research shows that among households who receive SNAP, food insecurity rates are up to 30 percent lower than they otherwise would be," the White House said. "But in spite of SNAP's success, hunger remains a stubborn problem, in part because for many benefits are inadequate to provide enough healthful food to children and families living on a tight budget."
The programs are expected to be announced during a White House childhood hunger symposium attended by food and nutrition experts and will build on programs that improve food security and nutrition for low-income children.