SNAP benefits to be cut

Joe P. Asher Staff Writer

October 30, 2013

Families and individuals who receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits — formerly known as food stamps — will find benefits decreasing as of Nov. 1.

A press release from the Kentucky Health and Family Services Cabinet (HFSC) states this is due to inaction on the part of the United States Congress. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, instituted in 2009, was not extended due to Congress failing to vote to extend the act.

According to Anya Armes Weber, public information officer for the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, the Nov. 1 expiration will impact all recipients of SNAP benefits.

Weber stated there are approximately 867,000 people — 419,700 households — receiving SNAP benefits each month.

Harlan County reported 5,914 households — a total of 11,726 people — enrolled in the SNAP program for September. SNAP benefits totaled $1,535,355 for Harlan County recipients during that month.

The HFSC release states the amount of change to benefits will depend on the size of the household, income and expenses. Two person households currently receiving $367 per month will likely see a decrease of $20 a month, down to $347.

“The additional funding made a significant impact on our customers’ access to nutritious foods,” said Teresa James, Department for Community Based Services Commissioner. “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 Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, an organization founded in 1981 to analyze federal budget priorities, states on its website that a household of one will be cut $11 per month, two person households will be cut $20, three person households will lose $29 per month and four person households will be cut by $36.

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

Reach Joe P. Asher at 606-573-4510, ext. 113, jasher@civitasmedia.com