850,000 May Have $90 Less in Food Stamps

(Photo Credit: MGN Online)

(Photo Credit: MGN Online)

WASHINGTON (CNNMoney) — A deal on food stamps in Congress could trim as much as $90 a month from 850,000 of the nation’s poorest who seek help to buy groceries.

The measure is part of the latest farm bill and aims to cut about $9 billion from food stamps over the next 10 years, according to the Congressional Research Service.

It’s less than the $39 billion that Republicans had wanted to cut from the program; but double what Democrats had suggested.

Lawmakers characterize the deal as getting rid of a “loophole” that has helped 17 states dole out more generous food stamps to some people who also get federal help to heat or cool their homes. They also stress the move won’t cut families from food stamps, it will just shrink the amount.

Advocates for the poor are irate. The newly-proposed reductions come just months after the $11 cut from food stamp checks that went into effect on Nov. 1, when the recession-era boost in funding ended.

Since then, food pantries have reported larger crowds, as families exhaust their allotment before the month ends.

“They’re calling it a loophole, but it’s taking away real money from real families,” said Joel Berg, executive director, of the New York City Coalition Against Hunger, an advocacy group. “It seems like they’re just thinking: We must pass a farm bill at all costs, even if the cost is throwing 800,000 under bus.”

The food stamp changes are part of a larger farm bill that remains stalled in Congress over a separate measure to stabilize dairy prices that has irritated House Speaker John Boehner and other Republicans.

The goal is to get it passed before the spring crop planting season, because farmers need to know what to expect for their corn, wheat or tobacco yields. The bill would replace direct payments to farmers for planting crops with a more generous crop insurance program.

The food stamps program is fully funded for the next two years by the most recent budget deal. Delaying the farm bill won’t jeopardize recipients from getting benefits. However, the bill would result in less funding in coming years.

Currently, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, the official name for food stamps, feeds 47 million people.

Food stamps was the signature program of President Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty during the 1960s, when it was revamped. Since then, research has shown that fewer poor children went hungry or had nutrition-related developmental delays. Also, birth weights grew for children of poor mothers on food stamps, according to National Bureau of Economic Research report.

Enrollment in the program soared during the Great Recession, with nearly 15% of the population getting benefits, according to recent federal data. The average monthly benefit was $134 per person in October.

Congress plans to change the formula state officials use to calculate food stamp benefits, essentially ending something called a “heat and eat” maneuver, which allows families to automatically enroll in food stamps when they get federal energy help. The move essentially ended up paying some families more than they would have otherwise gotten.

The new farm bill would affect families that get food stamps in 17 states, including 300,000 families in New York, according to Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand’s office.

At this point, the food stamps deal appears to have support of key lawmakers, including agriculture chief Sen. Debbie Stabenow and House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer.

“I don’t like the fact we went further on the cuts, but that’s over 10 years,” Hoyer said on C-Span on Sunday. “It’s not as bad as it could have been and much better than I would have expected.”

53 comments

  • Leona

    A lot of those people so have jobs and still can’t afford to feed their families. It’s sad, congress has no problem taking from the poor but they sure wouldn’t take a pay cut. Anytime this country has to try to fix the budget the poor are the first ones they take from.

  • DeeW

    Good…….Nearly every time im in the grocery store I see people pay with food stamps and they are over weight with carts full of junk food. Maybe the cut will help them make better choices when shopping instead of splurging our tax dollars on twinkies and chips.

    • Reginald Cremeans

      Maybe you have never heard of thyroid conditions, body shape/size proportion, or simply not having the money to eat TRULY nutritious foods that contribute to obesity/overweight conditions. I’m very conservative, but when TOBACCO farmers are part of a bill that should be focused on FOOD farmers, and when people who think they are “better” than others and would rather criticize someone than help them, I think the state of this nation has become deplorable. Thank you for once again making me realize that our country is worse off for having professional politicians than having professionals representing us as our politicians.

    • Steve Louden

      Really? and if you saw them with carts full of meat, vegetables and fruit, you’d gripe because they are eating as well–or better than you!
      I hope that someday, you end up on EBT so you get a taste of what it’s like to have to live like this when you cannot make ends meet because of living on a fixed income!

  • Marie

    I’m on social security and my food stamps got lowered to $15 a month! That doesn’t buy you very much. It’s degrading!

    • Twonohio

      Well Marie considering the fact that you have internet access and you’re able to go on line with some sort of electronic device tells me that you’re being overpaid $15 in food stamps. Sorry to be so harsh but I work very hard so you can get food stamps and I don’t feel you’re entitled to internet, cable tv and anything else that might be considered a luxury.

      • Reginald Cremeans

        Never been to a public library? You can get on the internet any time you want. You are a small minded, bigoted individual and I find your comments reprehensible. If you can’t or don’t understand reprehensible, try going to a library sometime and see how the “other half” live.

    • Twonohio

      Reginald Cremeans I guess the truth hurts doesn’t it….. I find the way the “other half” live reprehensible! Sorry I have to get back to work so you and Marie can eat :)

  • Pat

    My daughter does have a job but she have small children to feed. She doesn’t make enough to feed her children and pay the rest of her bills on what she makes. So JIM whats your solution if you already have a job!!!

  • Tee Brown

    Hey DeeW…Have you seen how much salad cost??? maybe they buy what you see because it is cheap !! At mcdees you get a unhealthy food for a dollar but a salad is …. 5 dollars.

    • DeeW

      Im a full time employed widowed mother……Im always in the grocery store and if these people can afford to buy T-bone steaks for their “man” at home and bologna pop and chips for their kid….. a 79 cents head of should make it into the cart as well.

  • heather

    Stop treating prisoners like they live in a upscale hotel and spread some of that money around to better more well deserving places rather than punishing people that are doing what they can to help their families in hard times. Not everyone on food stamps are “taking advantage” and truly need the help. Prisoner’s did the crimes and shouldnt be rewarded w education, meals etc.

  • Amanda

    This is ridiculous. Our family’s food stamps got lowered to $160 a month for 5 of us. (Myself, my husband and our 3 kids.) My family mostly lives on pizza, macaroni and cheese and other processed food because that’s all we can afford now. I’m afraid to see what we will be eating if they lower it further. Sometimes I forgo meals just so my kids have enough. This is sad.

    • Twonohio

      You’re on the internet so how much do you spend on your cable bill each month? You should forgo the following if you have them.

      Interent (which you do because you’re on here)

      cellphones

      cable tv

      computer(s)

      netflix account

      I work very hard for the things I can afford and dream of the things I can’t. I don’t look or ask for a handout from no one and I taught and continue to teach my son that every day!

      • t

        you don’t know if they are at a public library or not!!!! But I’m sure there are some people who do have all of the above.

      • Steve Louden

        Stop painting everyone on EBT with the same brush, idiot. Many of us don’t even have a TV set, or cable. I wouldn’t own a TV set nowadays because of all the garbage that’s on it. You people calling everyone who uses EBT cards names, really says a lot for your character! I hope the day will come when you end up on one so you can see what it’s like to have your regular work income taken away from you because you lost your job! You’d better count your blessings Mr. Mouth. The direction this country is headed, you are probably going to eat your own words!

    • Tina

      Please, learn how to coupon! I read many coupon blogs, and frugal family blogs. You DON”T have to just eat junk! If you coupon , you can afford some better quality food! Trust me. The husband and I both work full-time. We have two kids. I coupon my arse off! I cook good, nutritious meals (with some fun ‘bad’ ones, like pizza, in there). Your children NEED and DESERVE good nutrition. Especially, if you have any with health issues, like I have.
      I’d even help you find websites/blogs to read, and ways to get coupons. It can be done. I used to buy groceries/toiletries for my family for $75 a week, and that was when the youngest was in diapers. We qualified for no aid, had to figure it out. You can so do it!

  • Amon

    Wow, that’s a slippery slope. Maybe they should limit what can be bought with food stamps. I see folks buying junkfood with FS at every grocery store I go to. But, let’s remember that those stamps only provide enough to buy food for 2 1/2 weeks out of the month. Buying junk food only makes nutritional efforts go to waste. Cutting these funds will lead to more crime and scams across the country. This is a bad deal for the poor. For the Americans with jobs that don’t get food stamps, the low pay is still not enough to support their families. It’s easy to tell someone to get a job, but harder to actually get hired. Those that suggest getting a job and oppose of federally funded programs usually have well paying jobs. The poor, on the other hand, get the fuzzy end of the lollypop. Such a slippery slope…

  • Dave

    Well many eat free breakfast and lunch at school, so that leaves 7 dinners 2 lunches 2 breakfasts. So 5 days a week only have to make 1 meal a day. Can’t afford to feed the kids, don’t have them as fas as they do these days and run for help. Get on your feet first. Be made to go out every week to apply for work like the hard worker has to do to get their layoff benefits. And I also see a lot of junk food which is high cost bought with these free food stamps. See a lot just sit out on the porch all day or bounce the basketball to the playground all day not even thinking to go get a job, why should they, they get enough, if they don’t they steal for it. Seen that many times also

    • t

      I have a job and do not get food stamps but my kids school does not offer breakfast so not all schools are the same. And they charge 4.25 for lunch everyday and get unhealthy food I pack there lunch.. Schools need healthy food also.

  • Isaiah Phillips

    This!! The recipients could expect. I- you- we already hear that the seniors
    social security have had some cuts.. and they have cut the snap program weather you get other assistance or not. I have said in previous occasions thay we have to go backwards to move forward. I myself have found lesser quality meats and other things.. But the problem is whats going to happen to those who will not conform to whats happening. . Or those who always find there cabinets empty and all the aloted help is exhausted..

  • Your mom

    How about they completely cut the whole program? That way these people can respect what they get for FREE and stop being so greedy. It’s a win win because they will learn a life lesson and how you have to work hard for what you really want.

  • Tina

    Another thing that some people can do is look up Angel Food Ministries. You can buy one, or many, boxes of food from them pretty cheaply. I think it’s a decent program. Also, coupons! I love my coupons! There are so many blogs/websites about couponing. Look up Sisters Shopping on a Shoestring. They have helped me save so much!

  • t

    Wow I am amazed by the heartless people…. like I said I have an elderly mother who has diabetes and going blind and depends on her 112.00 foodstamps . She worked for years her pension went broke by time she retired. There are people who do need this…. I don’t agree with the people who buy junk food If WIC can have a food list why cant food stamps I have to agree that soda and cakes and cookies and chips should not be allowed to be purchased with food stamps. And Im sorry but the single moms with 5 kids and 5 different daddies…. Need good education on getting there tubes tied. That is crazy!!! food stamps need to be regulated on what they can but not just taken away.. I SUPPORT THE DRUG TESTING TO GET ANY GOVERMENT ASSTANCE… I have to take a drug test at work every 6 moths they should have to take one to get my money!!!!!!

  • t

    IF they did drug test there would be tons of money saved… and I don’t want to here the cost of a drug test cost to much I go to a clinic where it is 20.00$$$$$ They send the results to my employer so 20.00 a month to get your 200.00 or more in food stamps will worth it to me!!!!! there thousands of people on dope and selling there food stamps for dope!!! That really makes me mad that I have to have a drug test and they get my hard earned money for free!!!!! and free housing!!!

  • Jay

    If you have name brand clothes on your back, a cell phone, cable/internet, and a car you don’t deserve food assistance. You obviously know how to satisfy your “wants” in life now learn how to satisfy your “needs.” Oh you have kids? You should of planned financially for that otherwise we have clinics to help you take care of that in the beginning. Social programs are killing the middle class. Hard working Americans are suffering to pay for lazy Americans. End social programs then watch how fast everyone is willing to work and that will boost the economy.

    • Jenny

      Question… how do you plan to be in your mid 30′s with kids – mind you all to the same man of whom I have been married to for nearly 20 years. Then, loose your job of 12 years, suffer from multiple mini-strokes and a brain bleed, loose your house and almost everything you worked all those years for – all within 2 years. Sorry, but I feel back on the system for help… I would love to have the 2 years back and delete all the bad from them, but I can’t. I would love to be the person I was, but I can’t. Plan for strokes… yes maybe in my 80′s or 90′s, but I never imagined having them now. Not everyone on they system it on it because the “want” to be or are “lazy”… we do our best, but with all that happened it has became very hard. Yes, we have a car… we need it to get the kids and I to the doctors and hubby to work. Yes, we have internet… the kids require it to be schooled online – so we don’t just cook them 7 dinners, 2 lunches & 2 breakfast, but we cook them all 21 meals plus snacks.. Our cell phone is on my in-laws plan… never know if I will have another one since the latest one was just a few months ago or where I will be – it is a medical necessity. But I do understand tightening the budget and trying to make do… if that is what we have to do that is what we will do. Please understand that some people are thankful… some of us do cry ourselves to sleep sometimes because we are in the situations we are… some of us are trying to find a way out, but can’t… I was the money maker, the one with the education… now I’m worth nearly nothing.

  • Jeff Lewis

    if you cant afford kids you shouldnt have them.i still own a flip phone but i get behind a mom with 6 kids paying with food stamps and all her kids are on thier iphones. priotities peopl

  • mike

    Twonohio your an idiot don’t think just cause your lucky enough to have a good job now that it will be there for ever. The way this country is going 90% of people will be out of work with no way to feed there families . I just hope you are one of the first to loose your job so you can see how it really is for people that work so hard and make so little.

    • Voodoo

      I agree Mike…..They have no clue. That’s alot of money to hungry kids. You’re worried about people getting food stamps and congress works 3 months and gets free healthcare while making millions. Priorities….huh?

    • Twonohio

      Mike just so you know you IDIOT I lost my job 10 years ago and I got 3 jobs until I could get one that paid me enough to afford what I wanted and needed. I worked at 2 fast food places and walmart while juggling a single parent house. And not one time did I get on public assistance or ask for a hand out. I wasn’t too proud at my age to take orders at a fast food drive thru or stock shelves. So come at me again with what I don’t know. I have what I have because I worked for it. You’re not working hard enough so stop your whining!

      • Steve Louden

        I hope you end up on the EBT card. People like you need to receive a big dose of reality. You’d better consider yourself very fortunate right now, because with the direction this country is headed, you are NOT exempt from being forced to go on the EBT card. It’s un-American people like you, who paint everyone with the same brush, who deserve what comes back to bite them on the rear end, and I hope it takes a great big bite out of yours!!

      • Steve Louden

        To “twonohio”…I hope you end up on the EBT card. People like you need to receive a big dose of reality. You’d better consider yourself very fortunate right now, because with the direction this country is headed, you are NOT exempt from being forced to go on the EBT card. It’s un-American people like you, who paint everyone with the same brush, who deserve what comes back to bite them on the rear end, and I hope it takes a great big bite out of yours!!

  • John Smith

    I wonder how much they could increase the amount to people who really need it if they only got serious about recovering all the welfare fraud, deadbeats, graft and flat out cheating?

  • Cassi

    ok im really tired of the mean people in here. i get 75 in food stamps. i have a full time job. yes i have internet….because im taking online courses to get a degree, i also have a phone because i have to talk to my school and my job often. you cant even find a job without a contact number. i buy as healthy as i can but the healthier you buy the more expensive it is. i am usually hungry as i have to stretch out what little food i have to last all month. i have always known it requires alot of hard work and money but that doesnt convince my boss to give me a raise no matter how hard of a worker. all i get is a “good job!”. that doesnt put food in my belly or money in my pocket. i only get more stress. some of us do try hard everyday. why punish the ones who are truely in need? i do agree cable tv is not essential to life….play with your kids instead of sticking them in front of a tv.

  • Voodoo

    You shouldn’t have to explain yourself to anyone Cassi…it’s none of their business. And if they want to start talking about they pay for your stamps in taxes, tell them to worry about how much Congress makes that they pay for. You really think people choose not to work and receive assistance? Think again.

    • John Smith

      You betcha …… if I’m the evil taxpayer you better believe that I’m owed an explanation from the likes of Cassi and anyone else including the freeloading Congress!

      • Twonohio

        I agree 100% John. It’s funny how they think they can just take take take and think that we shouldn’t have an opinion.

  • Voodoo

    The Senate voted Thursday to pass a $1.1 trillion bill that would fund the federal government through September. See they make sure they get paid. We should be asking why they make so much money.

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