Food stamp recipients this fall — 16 percent of all Ohioans — will have their benefits reduced because of an act of Congress, with a family of four losing up to $36 a month.
And this time, Democrats are the ones who did it. While Democrats complain that House of Representatives Republicans want to dramatically cut the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, the cuts that will take effect Nov. 1 were passed by Democrats in 2010.
In Ohio, this will mean a loss of $193 million in direct benefits between Nov. 1 and the end of the 2014 fiscal year next September, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and the Ohio Association of Foodbanks, which tries to supplement households with donated groceries. It will affect 21.6 percent of people in Cuyahoga County, based on state SNAP participation tables.
The Ohio Association of Foodbanks says that SNAP already provides only an average $1.50 a meal per person, which will drop to an average of $1.40. By the third week of each month, most SNAP households have already run through their monthly benefits, the association says.
The Democrats made a deal to reduce benefits in a manner that many in the party took pains to avoid discussing at the time. Saying that the nation’s school districts were on the verge of laying off teachers because of the poor economy’s effect on local and state tax revenues, Democrats put together a mini-stimulus bill to send more federal money to schools. Through another bill, they also provided money for a school nutrition program.
They said the money for both of these would come from closing corporate tax loopholes.
But the biggest share was actually from SNAP, more commonly known as food stamps, with cuts this November of $36 for a household of four that receives the maximum allocation, $29 for a household of three, $20 for a household of two and $11 for a single recipient, according to advocates for the program.
The $36, the Ohio Association of Foodbanks says, is the equivalent of a gallon of low-fat milk ($3.69), a box of corn flakes ($2.99), eight bananas ($3.12); a loaf of wheat bread ($2), some deli ham ($2.49); some deli cheese ($3.49), two boxes of spaghetti ($2), spaghetti sauce ($1.79), some ground beef ($4.99), some chicken breasts ($5.69), and four potatoes ($2.36).
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