December 19, 2014

Food stamp cuts take effect

Food stamp cuts kick in today for families in Wisconsin and across the nation. Nearly 900,000 people in Wisconsin will see a cut in their Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP benefits, also known as food stamps.

“People won’t become in eligible, but everybody will see their benefit levels go down,” said Tamarine Cornelius with the Wisconsin Budget Project. It’s due to the expiration of a boost to the program that was part of the stimulus ($45.2 billion the federal government funneled into the food stamp program as part of the 2009 American Reinvestment and Recovery Act). Cornelius said for a family of three in Wisconsin, that will amount to a decrease in benefits of about $29 a month for a family of three, and $36 for a family of four.

“Families are still suffering from the recession,” said Cornelius. “There’s still elevated poverty, people still aren’t making as much as they were before, there’s still a high level of joblessness. so this is kind of the wrong time to put that cut into place.”

About forty percent of SNAP recipients in Wisconsin are children. “It’s just going to make it that much harder for these families to be able to put food on their tables for their kids,” said Cornelius. Nationally, about 47 million people are expected to feel the pinch.

Meanwhile in Washington, negotiations are continuing over a Farm Bill, with one of the main points of contention being a further 40 billion dollars in cuts to SNAP which House Republicans want implemented over the next ten years.