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Food Stamp/SNAP Benefits to Decrease November 1

 

As of November 1, 2013, anyone who gets Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP/Food Stamps) benefits will have a decrease in the amount of their monthly SNAP benefit.

 

In 2009, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) temporarily increased SNAP benefits to help households during the Great Recession. This temporary boost to benefit levels will end on November 1, 2013. Therefore, anyone who gets SNAP benefits will see a decrease in the amount they receive starting in November.

 

The average single-person household will see a decrease of about $11/month in benefits. This can be a significant amount, especially for those living on a fixed income. And there is further potential for confusion due to timing. In October of each year, the standard cost-of-living adjustments used to calculate SNAP eligibility and benefits are updated. Therefore, some people may see a slight increase in their SNAP benefits this October, but then the subsequent decrease in November.

 

SNAP offices are to be sending out notices in September and October to inform people about the change in benefits. Food Stamp/SNAP beneficiaries may still need further clarification regarding this change.

 

According to recent statistics, only 14% of Older American households use the medical expense deduction, although 55% qualify for it. So you, as the service coordinator, can help your residents to understand ways to offset the coming SNAP benefit cuts and possibly increase their SNAP benefits by taking advantage of the Medical Expense Deduction. Older adults and individuals with disabilities can claim out-of-pocket costs over $35 a month, including premiums and medical equipment, which can help increase their SNAP benefits. More information regarding the Medical Expense Deduction can be found here: (http://www.ncoa.org/assets/files/pdf/center-for-benefits/SNAPshots-medical-deduction.pdf)

 

Additionally, Food Stamp/SNAP beneficiaries can deduct certain household costs such as rent/mortgage and utilities, if they are over half of the household’s income, possibly increasing their SNAP benefit. And, there is no cap on this deduction for older adults and individuals with disabilities.

 

More information and a background on the Food Stamps/SNAP cuts can be found at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) website (http://www.cbpp.org/cms/?fa=view&id=3899).

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