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Thu October 31, 2013
Food Stamp Users To See Benefits Cut
Georgians who receive food stamps will see a cut to their benefits starting Friday.
A family of four using food stamps can expect to get $36 less each month starting Nov. 1, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which oversees the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP.
Laura Lester, spokeswoman for the Atlanta Community Food Bank, says less SNAP funding will drive more people to charity centers.
“We know where these folks will go,” Lester says. “The congregations and the communities that serve them and try to help them with emergency food situations have already been stretched to the limit, so this prospect is somewhat terrifying.”
The change comes from the expiration of a funding boost to the SNAP program that was in the 2009 Federal Stimulus Bill. SNAP covers about 1.9 million people in Georgia, an increase of about 890,000 since the bill was enacted.
Lester says the food bank almost doubled its distribution since the Recession began.
“The idea that more can be put on top of that is unrealistic,” she says.
Separately, two congressional farm bills would cut SNAP funding. The House bill would cut food stamps by about $40 billion dollars over 10 years and change work and eligibility requirements. The Senate bill would cut $4 billion dollars.
Georgia Senator Saxby Chambliss and Representative Austin Scott sit on a board trying to strike a deal between those two proposals.