CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Just weeks after escaping $40 billion in cuts by the U.S. House of Representatives, the federal food stamp program still will see an estimated $5 billion in cuts beginning Friday.
Congress in 2009 passed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, increasing benefits to families in the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
That boost was meant to help people through the economic downturn that began in late 2008. Lawmakers also made sure the increase would only be temporary, lasting until Friday.
West Virginia will see a $2.7 million reduction in SNAP benefits for November. Those cuts will affect 291,000 of the state's 352,000 food stamp recipients.
Families were notified by mail in October of the decreased benefits.
Marsha Stowers, SNAP Senior Policy Specialist at the state Bureau for Children and Families, said the agency has not received any questions about the reductions. There's little the state can do, however, because the reductions came from the federal level.
The level of cuts depends on several factors, including a family's income, household size and expenses. Generally, individuals' benefits would decrease by $11 per month, while a family of four would see a decrease of $36 per month.
Stowers said larger families would see larger cuts. A family of six, for instance, will receive $52 less in SNAP benefits this month.