SNAP benefits decrease this month

Published 7:12 pm Tuesday, November 12, 2013

By Fred Guarino
The Lowndes Signal

Families and individuals enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) will see a decrease in their benefits beginning in November. The decrease is a result of the expiration of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) that went into effect in April of 2009.

Rachel A. Waters, director of Lowndes County DHR, said the cuts are “the law, it’s a requirement, and we must implement it. It’s not optional.”

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While Waters could not provide information specific to Lowndes County, she said all recipients of the SNAP program statewide would see a decrease.

According to information released by Alabama DHR Commissioner Nancy Buckner, “SNAP Benefit amounts are determined by several factors such as income, household size and expenses, so the amount of the decrease will vary depending on individual circumstances.”

She said, “While many families and individuals do not receive the maximum benefit, a family of four receiving the maximum benefit will see their benefit decrease from $668 to $632 per month and an individual recipient receiving the maximum benefit will see a decrease from $200 to $189 per month.”

She said each household would receive a notice by mail that will tell them the exact amount of their benefits after the change has been made. They may also call 1-800-382-0499 to find out the new amount of their monthly benefit.

SNAP benefits are funded with 100 percent federal dollars through the United States Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service and may only be used to purchase food.

The purpose of SNAP is to improve nutrition by providing monthly benefits to eligible low-income households to help them buy the food they need for good health. All states operate the SNAP program according to regulations set forth by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.