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Food stamps benefits decrease

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Since 2000, participation in the food stamp program, known also as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, has more than doubled to 15 percent of all U.S. residents. Low-income households that meet SNAP eligibility requirements receive a payment card that can be used to buy government-approved foods.

Due to the high unemployment rate, the Obama administration waived a 1996 job requirement – a rule that made finding a job or enrolling in job training a prerequisite for receiving SNAP benefits – for 46 states, including Kentucky.

Slate.com has an interactive tool that shows how many people in a locale are receiving food stamps. According to the website, in LaRue County, 2,833 people receive food stamps – that’s 18 percent of the population.

That number has grown by 88 percent since 2000. Since that time, residents have received $3,980,700 in benefits – an average of $127 per person per month.

 

The Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services is notifying recipients of funding from the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) – formerly known as food stamps – that they will see their benefits decrease beginning Nov. 1.

The change is because increased benefits provided to SNAP by the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act in 2009 are set to expire. Congress has not voted to extend this stimulus funding.

CHFS’ Department for Community Based Services administers the Kentucky food benefits program, which is funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service, in every county.

DCBS Commissioner Teresa James said the temporary stimulus funding helped thousands of Kentuckians through a worthy program.   

In 2009, stimulus funding boosted every participating household’s benefits by 13.6 percent – a two-person household would have received $44 more each month.

“The additional funding made a significant impact on our customers’ access to nutritious foods,” James said. “Though we are disappointed this extra funding is lapsing, we will still provide benefits to eligible customers and connect them with other community resources that can help feed their family healthful meals on a lower budget.”

The long-term change in benefits, after the stimulus funding expires, will depend on household size, income and expenses. A household of two who currently receives $367 a month will likely see a decrease in benefits by $20 a month to $347 per month.

James said customers are being notified of the change through the media and through letters and electronic alerts.

James said customers can access their specific benefits changes and receive alerts by logging on to the state’s SNAP customer service website: https://snapfoodbenefits.chfs.ky.gov.

Customers cannot appeal the change in benefits because the decrease is a result of a change in federal law.

Learn more about SNAP online at http://chfs.ky.gov/dcbs/dfs/foodstampsebt.htm.