Despite the fact that many children and families are still experiencing the lingering effects of the recession, all families receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits will face a significant cut in benefits starting November 1st.

When the recession hit, Congress responded in 2009 through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) by increasing monthly SNAP benefits that not only met an increased need but provided an economic stimulus. Because of that change, SNAP households with children receive an average per-person benefit of $129 per month, or $1.43 per person per meal.

Yet this provision expires on Friday, meaning that all families receiving SNAP benefits will face a significant benefits cut immediately. Families will see a reduction based on their household size:

Household size and monthly benefits lost:
1 person: $11
2 people: $20
3 people: $29
4 people: $36

This means a family of four can see their benefits reduced by $400 over a course of a year. For families struggling to make ends meet, this will have a profound impact on parents’ ability to feed their children.

Families that experience a cut in benefits should contact their local SNAP office for referral information about other resources that might be available, such as free or reduced price school meals, after school meals, emergency food assistance, or benefits under the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC).

In addition, negotiations in Congress on farm bill legislation threaten further cuts to SNAP. Cutting these benefits further is short-sighted and any immediate savings will be far outweighed by the long-term costs to the health of the nation’s children.

Now more than ever, nutrition programs are a critical resource for vulnerable families and children, and First Focus strongly urges that as any Farm Bill or Federal budget negotiations move forward, Congress works together to minimize any cuts to SNAP and other important child nutrition programs.