Many receiving food stamps are seeing a small increase in benefits this month which will be wiped out by a larger decrease in benefits next month.
On October 1st, benefits through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or “SNAP” increased slightly for eligible recipients due to the annual cost-of-living adjustment.
But on November 1st, a temporary hike in food stamp benefits that's been funded through the federal “stimulus package” will expire.
State Department of Social Services spokeswoman Kathleen Goetzman says, “That was something to help people in the recession. It's the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act of 2009. So that was a temporary increase and now that is changing and it cannot be appealed. It's changing for everybody across the country.”
Goetzman says food stamp benefits are based on several factors, from household size to income. But it's expected the average South Carolina SNAP household will see benefits decrease up to $20 a month.
Goetzman says recipients can get an idea of their benefit amounts by checking the SNAP balance on grocery receipts, checking their account online, or calling the toll-free number on the back of their debit-style Electronic Benefit Transfer card.
SNAP recipients may also be wondering what effect the federal government shutdown is having on benefits.
Goetzman says there's been little impact so far.
“Definitely everything is in place through the end of October and we think we are good through the end of November. Now if the federal shutdown was still going a month from now, it would have to be re-evaluated.”