WASHINGTON (WBOC)- The U.S. food stamp system is to be reduced by $5 billion starting in November. The average benefit will shrink and the overall number of people receiving it will diminish by millions.
Currently, the program costs about $80 billion per year and provides food aid to nearly 15 percent of all US households - over 45 million people.
A big automatic cut is expected on Nov. 1, taking $5 billion from federal food-stamp spending over 2014. The benefit is set to shrink by 5 percent.
One of the reasons for the reduction is the temporary expansion of the food-stamp program in 2009 as part of the Recovery Act.
The maximum monthly benefit for a household of four will drop by $36 a month, by $29 for a family of three, and by $20 for two people, according to a report published by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.
This is not the last reduction the program will see over the next few months, with Congress set to resume the negotiations over the five-year farm bill.
The Senate has so far approved the version of the farm bill that would make only minor changes to the food-stamp program, saving $4.5 billion over 10 years.
Food Bank organizers say this will be detrimental for many, especially seniors, families with children and the disabled. They say with the automatic decrease and the government shutdown, it is possible that our most-vulnerable populations will not receive food benefits in the upcoming months.
Food Bank organizers are preparing for the worst and encouraging people to make donations to their local food banks, especially during the holiday season.