Food-Stamp Cuts to Hit 2 Million Illinois Residents Starting Today
Those who rely on food stamps will have to make do with a little less beginning today as a boost in funding from the federal stimulus package is set to expire.
The change will affect more than 2 million low-income residents in Illinois who are enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, according to the Illinois Department of Human Services. Nationally, about 47 million people are expected to feel the pinch.
The move marks the end of an extra $45.2 billion the federal government funneled into the food stamp program beginning in 2009 to offset a higher demand for help during the recession.
Reductions vary, but for a family of four in Illinois currently receiving the maximum benefit of $668 per month, that amount will drop to $632. Meanwhile, a single person will see benefits lowered from a maximum of $200 per month to $189.
Advocates for the poor say every penny counts in households already struggling to make ends meet.
“It seems like a small decrease, but it will have an impact on those who depend on it,” DHS spokeswoman Januari Smith said. “People will have to make tough decisions, including choosing between necessary medicines and putting food on the table.”