Developing: Food stamps for Alabamians set to decline - WRBL

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Food stamp benefits to decline nationwide Nov. 1

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Forty-seven million Americans who receive food stamp benefits are about to see them decrease. Starting Nov. first, families stand to lose anywhere from $11 and up per month.

It is happening because a 2009 federal stimulus program. It was created to help re-boost the economy and included increases to Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, SNAP, benefits, also known as food stamp benefits. They are completely funded through federal dollars.

The exact reduction for each family will be different since it depends on the household size and income. Households with one person who receives $200 a month will see about 11 dollars less; $189 per month. A family of eight who receives $1,202 a month will lose $65 every month.

Many people, like Shay Edwards, rely heavily on them to feed their families. "I understand some people use the system and abuse it, but I'm not one of those people. I know I need help with my kids," she said. Edwards has two young girls; a two-year-old and a newborn. She's been unemployed for nearly a year. Every month she receives $529 in food stamp benefits to help pay for groceries. But on Nov. 17 she will get $29 less.

"I won't have as many groceries in my household because they are cutting off 30 dollars. So the 30 dollars I usually use, the extra 30 dollars I have, I usually buy her milk with that... But since I'm not going to have that. I'll have to use what I have now." Edwards said she won't have as many groceries in her home.

Since everyone receives their benefits at different times of the money everyone may not see the changes at the same time. The first payment you receive on or after November first will reflect that reduction. On average it will be 5.5% per household.

"It's not going to be easy and I'm not going to try to make it sound like it is," said Jan Burke, the director of the Lee County Department of Human Services. She said this will affect everyone differently, but it's important to keep the positive in mind. "Yes it is a less benefit, but we must remember it is a benefit and they are still receiving that benefit."

Mail notices will be going out soon to each household notifying them of their new benefit amount. Alabama officials said recipients in their state will receive them in early November.

After Nov. first, people may also call 1800-382-0499 to find out their new monthly amount.

Sydney Cameron

Sydney joined the WRBL news team in December 2011 after working as a freelance reporter in Washington, D.C. More>>

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