Food Stamp Benefits To Decrease Beginning November

| by Khier Casino

Food stamp benefits will automatically be reduced in November for millions of American families registered in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

The Center on Budget and Police Priorities reported that the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) increased SNAP benefits by 13.6 percent as a way of delivering high value for economic stimulus and easing hardship.

On Friday, Nov. 1, SNAP benefits will see a decrease of 5.4 percent when the 2009 Stimulus Package money dries up.

Thomas Steinhauser, the director of benefit programs for the Virginia Department of Social Services, says this will be a significant cut for many households and could impact families that rely on benefits every month.

“For a family of four, if they lost 36 dollars a month in benefits, that would be pretty significant if you budgeted for that,” he told WRIC, a ABC News affiliate.

Social Services says the impact will not only affect families. The idea behind expanding benefits back in 2009 was that every $5 spent on SNAP lead to $9 of economic impact, WRIC reports. The USDA says retailers will be affected as well.

Customers will most likely go to mega retailers, like Walmart, where they can buy cheaper meals. SNAP recipients will have less to spend no matter where they go to shop.

“The analogy I use — if your boss came in and told you you were gonna get a 5.4 percent [salary] increase, you'd be pretty happy,” Steinhauser said. “Similarly, if they told you you were gonna get [a] 5.4 percent decrease, it’d be pretty tough."

The decrease will depend on factors like household income, the number of people in the home, and how much a family spends on monthly expenses. Single individuals will receive about $11 fewer than last month, while a family of five or six will have to make ends meet with about $50 fewer dollars.