Stimulus Expiration Means Cuts For Food Assistance Program

Oct 24, 2013

State government officials are notifying recipients of the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program that cuts are on the way.

The program, otherwise known as SNAP or food stamps, will see decreased benefits starting November 1.

SNAP was in the headlines in September when the U.S. House of Representatives voted to cut food stamps by $40B over the next decade. Proponents argued that the cuts were needed to reign in runaway spending in the program, which has more than doubled since 2008, and that SNAP has gone far beyond being a safety net for children, seniors, and the disabled.

Jason Bailey, director of the Kentucky Center for Economic Policy, argued, however, that the program still represents a lifeline for many.

“Well, the SNAP program keeps 4.7 million Americans out of poverty. It's a key lifeline to folks who need it. The reality is that many of the folks who are on SNAP are on it because they are working low-wage jobs.”

But this round of cuts isn’t the result of new legislation. The cuts come as the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, the stimulus package, expires. The funding boosted every participants’ benefits by 13.6 percent – or $44 a month for a two-person household. After the expiration date, changes in benefits will depend on household size, income, and expenses.