Sunday, October 20, 2013

All Food Stamp Benefits Cut On November 1

Decrease In Food Assistance Benefits For Next 12 Months Will Surprise Recipients

LABELLE, FL. -- Beginning November 1, 2013 every household receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance under the SNAP program (formerly called food stamps) will see a 5.5%  decrease in the amount credited to their EBT cards each month for the next 12 months.

47 million Americans, one in seven, rely on SNAP to meet their basic nutritional needs, receiving food assistance benefits monthly of less than $2 per meal per person depending on family size.

The cut in assistance will be the equivalent of taking away 21 meals per month for a family of four, or 16 meals for a family of three, based on calculations using the $1.70 to $2 per meal provided for in the governments calculated Thrifty Food Plan.

The program cuts will affect 22 million children in 2014 (10 million who live in “deep poverty,” with family incomes below half of the poverty line) and 9 million people who are elderly or have a serious disability.
For households of four, the cut will amount to $36 less each month. For three-member families, $29; two-member families, $20; and single member households $11 less each month. For one and two-member households with qualifying incomes the minimum amount paid by the state will be lowered from $16 to $15.

Single member households with a minimal net income formerly received a maximum of $200 each month towards food purchases. For the next 12 month they will receive benefits of $189, or 5.5% less than previous months.  That is about $2.10 per meal.

The maximum allowable benefit for a family of four (assuming a very low net family income after subtracting housing and utility costs) is now $632 monthly or about $1.75 per meal per person. For a family of three the maximum possible amount is now $497 or about $1.84 per meal. And a family of two can receive a maximum of $347 or about $1.93 per meal.

There has been some concern that the states around the country will not be fully prepared for the benefit cuts, how they will provide information about the upcoming benefit reduction to participating households and other stakeholders as well as how to manage increased client inquiries when the cut takes effect.

Most states don't provide a direct way  to contact the agency and talk to someone personally, further complicating the issue when clients notice a reduction in their benefits on November 1.


  1. Anonymous11:35 AM

    I am a 49 year old disabled father of 4 with to many aliments to list. My wife works for minimum wage in retail sales (non commission). We receive food stamps & "share of cost" medicaid. I My monthly medication cost is anywhere from $1200 - $2500 ;~( I submit a copy of meeting my share of cost ($259) by way of hand delivering it to the Florida Department of Children and Families so they can scan it into the computer to show proof that I have met my Share of Cost.

    90 % of the time it does not reflect in the computer until the following month, if at all that I have met my share of cost ;~( I went to the hospital at the beginning of this month 10/2/2013 and found out that I have 4 to 5 black Nodules on my lungs X-rays and desperately need to go to a specialist to make sure I do not have cancer. as well as try and get my health back on track.

    I am at my wits end and do not know where to turn for help! The way medicaid is run is a JOKE i get the run around month after month .


  2. Anonymous6:38 PM

    If anyone actually went to the USDA website for snap benefits you would see the formula for calculating benefits. It is unlikely for every family of four to receive the maximum benefit of $668/month. Here's an example, the formula starts by taking your net income and multiplying it by a factor of 0.3, for the math challenged this makes the value smaller. Let's look at a family of four making $23,556 annually. This is net poverty for a family of four. Snap benefits at this net amount qualifies you for up to the maximum. Let's throw that number into the formula: $23,556 x 0.3 = $7,066.80 (SNAP has assumed 30% of income goes to food while at poverty levels). SNAP then figures out how much that is per month, which is $588.90. SNAP then subtracts this from the maximum allocation possible, $668, and this is what you receive as your monthly benefit, $79.10. Theoretically, a family of four would have to earn nothing to receive the maximum benefit of $668/month.

    Now let's look at the cuts. The $5 billion sunset will cut benefits as high as $36/month for a family of four. This equates to a 45.5% reduction in benefits. Regardless what you philosophically think of the program, this will be felt by most if not all people receiving benefits. Individuals (non-disabled) may make decisions that are sometimes not effective for them or their family. Money may be misappropriated to items we feel are irrelevant to survival, but that will not reduce the impact it will have on those same people, when they see less money coming in. I hope we won't see wide scale food riots akin to a couple weeks ago in Walmart, when the EBT system went down.


    1. Thanks for the detailed explanation. The SNAP benefits actually are a bit more complicated to figure than shown though. To get to the net income, there is a deduction allowed for expenses including excess shelter costs, utilities, and medical expenses as well as several other expenses. The formula gets fairly complicated. It is true that the more net income you make the less you get in benefits and the net income would have to be very low to get the maximum benefits. Another complication is some states have a mandated"standard utility allowance" that is actually quite high that is deducted from income, and also a calculation for "unearned" income. Both of these items will gain more benefits to the client.