Hundreds of thousands in Ohio’s food stamp program could see a $50 cut in their monthly assistance starting in January, according to the Toledo Blade. Some consider it ironic that the announcement is coming just a week after the election in this swing state, which was won by President Barack Obama.
Chart shows the number of federal food stamp recipients since 1971. (Image: AP)
The Toledo Blade reported that with 869,000 households in the program, the cut could add up to $520 million. Here’s the reason for the cut, as reported by the Blade:
Because of the way the federal government calculates utility expenses for people receiving the benefit, a mild winter nationwide last year, and a lower price for natural gas, many families could experience a significant cut in aid, those familiar with the program say.
What’s called the “standard utility allowance” — the amount deducted from a person’s income when the state determines his or her eligibility for the food stamp program — will decrease by $166 for 2013, translating to about $50 less per household in food assistance. State Job and Family Services officials tried to appeal the change to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which oversees the food stamp program, officially known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, but the USDA denied the request.
In the comments section of the Toledo Blade article, powered through Facebook, some are questioning the timing of the cuts, just a week after the election in a state that was considered one of the presidential battlegrounds. A commenter named Ra Williams wrote, “Got to like the timing huh? LESS then a week after the election.” Another commenter, Nick Danielson, wrote that the cut seems “conveniently occurring after the election.”
Robert Laurie on Cain TV — Herman Cain’s news site — wrote:
Currently, close to a million impoverished Ohioans collect federal assistance in the form of food stamps. If the thrust of last week’s election was, as many have argued, a welfare quid-pro-quo, it’s clear these people represented a big portion of the buckeye state’s pro-Obama vote.
I wonder how they’ll react when they find out their monthly check is about to get $50 smaller.
Here’s some of the sentiments being tweeted regarding the cuts:
“This is a federal issue,” Joel Potts, executive director of the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services Directors’ Association, said according to the Blade. “It is what it is. They have a formula. … We just think it is going to be really hard on families and individuals. They will see significantly less money starting in January.”
Lisa Hamler-Fugitt, executive director of the Ohio Association of Foodbanks, told the Blade the organization is “really worried” about how the cut will impact families, especially those who might lose assistance all together. Several other organizations that provide supplemental food as well were reported as saying this cut would bring a strain on their system and the families they serve.
Tyler Durden from ZeroHedge also recently pointed out that the USDA seems to have delayed its monthly release of the number of Americans enrolled the food stamp program by nine days and didn’t release its August data until last week as well. Durden wrote that this could be why:
One glance at the number reveals why: at 47.1 million, this was not only a new all time record, but the monthly increase of 420,947 from July was the biggest monthly increase in one year. One can see why a reported surge in foodstamps ahead of the elections is something the USDA, and the administration may not have been too keen on disclosing.
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