IBJNews

Federal food aid benefits to shrink starting Friday

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

More than 925,000 Hoosiers who accept government assistance to purchase food will receive fewer benefits starting Friday when a program enacted during the economic downturn expires.

The cuts will mean $36 less in monthly benefits for a family of four or about $11 less for a single person who qualifies for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, which used to be known as food stamps.

Emily Weikert Bryant, executive director of Feeding Indiana’s Hungry, said $36 “means several days’ worth of food for a struggling family.”

“Clients already have a difficult time putting enough food on their tables and paying their bills even with SNAP benefits,” she said.

The increased benefits went into effect in 2009 when Congress passed the Recovery Act, a collection of programs meant to boost the American economy. But the increase was never meant to be permanent.

SNAP is funded by the federal government but administered by the state. Officials at the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration say they’ve been warning recipients about the upcoming drop in aid.

“We have been sending notifications by mail for about a month” said Marni Lemons, a spokeswoman for FSSA. “We are always prepared to receive calls from people who need assistance and any calls that come in about the reduction in SNAP aid will be well handled.”

Federal food-stamp spending reached a record $78.4 billion in fiscal 2012 amid a 77-percent increase in annual average food-stamp enrollment since 2007. Monthly food-stamp enrollment peaked in December at 47.8 million and was 47.6 million in July, the most recent month for which data was available.

Overall, the federal government will send about $98 million less to Indiana for SNAP through September 2014 than if the stimulus program had been extended. About 14 percent of Hoosiers will be affected.

According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a left-leaning think tank in Washington, D.C., about 436,000 children in Indiana will be affected by the cuts. Another 164,000 Hoosiers who are elderly or disabled will be affected.

For a family of three, the cut equals about 16 meals a month, according to the center. That’s based on costs outlined in the U.S. Agriculture Department’s “Thrifty Food Plan.”

The reduced payments will average less than $1.40 per person per meal.

“The depth and breadth of the SNAP cuts that take effect in November are unprecedented,” says a report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. “Past cuts have affected specific states or groups, but they have not affected all participants nor been as large as these cuts.”

The cuts come as a House-Senate conference committee begins work on a farm bill that could mean even more cuts for the SNAP program. Republicans in the House have proposed cutting benefits by $40 billion over 10 years. Democrats want a cut of $4 billion.

Area food banks expect to see an increase in need once the cuts take effect.

“We hope that Hoosiers statewide will also come to the aid of our friends, neighbors, and family that will be impacted by the loss of food assistance in November by donating food, funds, or time to regional food banks or local pantries to ensure that more food is available to those in need,” said Bryant.

ADVERTISEMENT

  • The irony of blaming the consumer
    If everything the people who want to cut food stamps say about those that use them are right, then you mind as well close up the food pantries. After all, it's just well-to-do folks that go to them to get free food. Why do churches give out free food if people aren't needy?
  • Soooo...
    We should stop feeding kids and the elderly because of your out-of-context (and probably exaggerated for effect) anecdote? Wise policy making, right there.
  • This very morning
    This morning I was inside the gas station as the card reader was busted for the pump. It was 9am and a mom with 2 small kids was in there, not sure what time school starts, but they were getting "breakfast" and "lunch". Breakfast was two energy drinks, the kids split one, some Cheetos, and a three donuts. Lunch was lunchable style things and pops, and of course a snack think (think it was a ho-ho, but not sure). All paid for with EBT card. And then she bought her smokes with cash. Money well spent.
  • Finally
    Our government just spent half a trillion dollars on military aircraft that went straight to the "boneyard" in Tucson. We have the money to feed our children and elderly.
  • As for food education
    Even in Indianapolis, there are parts where it requires a car to get to a grocery store. The closest food source for some is a convenience store, gas station, or fast food. Before you lecture people on their food choices, make sure there really is a choice.
  • Just FYI
    76% of SNAP households contain minor, elderly, or disabled people with househould incomes at or below the poverty line ($19,000 for a family of three). So enough with the empathy-challenged fantasies about lobster-buying "gamers" who don't need the assistance. Especially if your Mommy and Daddy funded your college education.
  • Food Education
    The reduction in funding can be partially off set by reducing the consumption of processed foods ( pizza rolls, flavored drink, high carbs, etc which are per serving very costly ) and to a greater extent utilized fresh vegetables , fruits , legumes and meats. I encourage Ms Lemons to communicate to her clients the cost and nutrition benefits of these alternatives. And in a sense make lemonade out of lemons.
    • It'll be Okay
      There will always be people who need help, like SNAP, but it's being "gamed" like every other government welfare program. You show me a government program and I'll show you somebody who can tell you exactly what you need to do to get in on it, even if you're not entitled to it and are not one of the people it is supposed to help. I learned a lot from hanging around Title IV D Court doing free legal work for indigent clients many years ago. Nothing's changed -- it's just a bigger target for scams than it was back then.
    • Sympathy?
      I find it hard to sympathize here, since I remember when I was in college, courtesy of my parents paying all of my expenses, that I was approached and offered food stamps. What??? I was told that because my parents had no visible means of support (retired, didn't need the money, but they'd worked hard their entire lives), I would qualify. No, thanks... I can't help but wonder how many people are on food-assistance plans who don't really need to be.
    • I Can Eat VERY well on my $36 a week.
      Sorry but I am not too sympathetic, At one time for a short period of time I received benefits, but I was SO happy to not reapply, too much headache. I use coupons, shop wisely and can eat VERY well on $36 dollars a week-what's the problem? The govt can do some but just can't do this as the level in the past! Oh, and I have a college aged daughter who comes home sometimes and has never missed a meal!
    • SERIOUSLY?
      The people who do receive food stamps get too many of them. Many people end up selling what they don't use to other people who don't receive them. Everyone who is getting help will be fine they just won't be able to turn a profit on them anymore. Which never should have been happening in the first place.
    • Please read again
      Donna, I can see how this could be confusing if you read it quickly, but it says the payments average less than $1.40 per meal, not the reductions.
    • WHO DID THE MATH??
      "The reduced payments will average less than $1.40 per person per meal." Since the current reductions at the highest possible rate will be $11/month for a single person - if that amount is divided by 30 days, that's 36 cents/day or 12 cents/meal - NOT $1.40/meal!!! How on earth did such a statement make it through the editors and remain in this article??? Or was the statement meant to incite a riot for those who don't bother to do any research??

      Post a comment to this story

      COMMENTS POLICY
      We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
       
      You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
       
      Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
       
      No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
       
      We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
       

      Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

      Sponsored by
      ADVERTISEMENT

      facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

      Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
      Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
       
      Subscribe to IBJ
      1. Uh, sorry Johnnie, but you are incorrect. Despite the assertions by yourself and various defenders and captains, sports attendance is NOT off significantly at most sporting events in the US. Variances in attendance has been in the range of single digits, both + & - for years now. MLB has had most of its best overall attendance nubers in the last decade, and that trend has been consistent for most major sporting events. The number one issue cited by most fans when asked about attendance is the overall cost of attending. The presence of HD and big screen televisions in home doesn't even register, as a factor for not attending an event. VALUE in the product is the key, and apparently is something lacking in the current ICS. What other explanation is there when with what is routinely touted as the "best" racing on the planet, fans are staying away in DROVES. A "close" title battle into the last event at Fontana, with the "cars and stars" of the ICS, and who showed up? MAYBE 8K. Sorry, but HD TV isn't to blame for that kind of fan apathy.

      2. Do you need finance to establish your business ? Are you interested in getting a loan at 3% from our private company? If so please Email: suntrust_oil@blumail.org

      3. If she was worth the $ the public outcry over direct tv dropping them would have kept them on their dishes as we have seen with other companies. I too quit watching channel 13 after she showed up since I left channel 8 because of her all show rather than production results. When Randy on 8 corrected her she had a big head and incorrectly challenged his correction for pronunciation of a city. Other antics while she matures was too much for me with her very inaccurate forecasts. All the forecasters were predicting rain until Thursday except Chris. They predicted sunny on Thursday but instead of rain until Thursday upon which the sun would finally make it out in full glory Chris was right on the money just as I too predicted looking at the radar on weather.gov. One thing I love about Angela is the fear you can see in her every time it thunders in the winter. It far exceeds the entertainment value of her body language (high heel noise drags, depression, etc) when her forecasts are so incorrect. Her hair stands on end, you have to see it!!!

      4. Good Day, Apply For A Loan I am Mr Fernadez Antonio, a private Loan lender and a cooperate financial for real estate and any kinds of business financing. I also offer Loans to individuals, Firms and cooperate bodies at 3% interest rate We offer any kind of loans. email us via fernadezloaninvest@outlook.com LOAN APPLICATION FORM First name:......................... Middle name:......................... Last name:........................................ Date of birth (yyyy-mm-dd):....................... Gender:........................................... Marital status:................................... Total Amount Needed............................... Loan Duration.................................... Address:.......................................... City:............................................. State/province:................................... Zip/postal code:.................................. Country:.......................................... Phone:............................................ Fax:.............................................. Mobile/cellular:.................................. Monthly Income.................................... Occupation:....................................... Best Regard, Mr Fernadez Antonio.

      5. i will love to share my testimony to you all the people in world i got married to my husband about 2 year ago we start having problems at home like we stop sleeping on the same bed,fighting about little things he always comes home late at night,drinking too much and sleeping with other women out side i have never love any man in my life except him. he is the father of my child and i don't want to loose him because we have worked so hard together to become what we are and have today .few month ago he now decided to live me and the kid,being a single mother can be hard sometimes and so i have nobody to turn to and i was heart broken.i called my mom and explain every thing to her,my mother told me about DR.okoro how he helped her solve the problem between her and my dad i was surprise about it because they have been without each other for three and a half years and it was like a miracle how they came back to each other. i was directed to DR. okoro on his email:okorospell@gmail.com and explain everything to him,so he promise me not to worry that he will cast a spell and make things come back to how we where so much in love again and that it was another female spirit that was controlling my husband he told me that my problem will be solved within two days if i believe i said OK So he cast a spell for me and after two days my love came back asking me to forgive him i Am so happy now. so that why i decided to share my experience with every body that have such problem contact Dr okoro the great spell caster on his email addresses spellcasterforlove@outlook.com

      ADVERTISEMENT