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.