RICHMOND (WRIC)—Those who receive benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as Food Stamps, will soon see a reduction in their monthly payments. As early as next week, a family of four could lose nearly $40 a month.
The Clay Street Market is one of the few places in its neighborhood that offers fresh produce. But the manager says soon families may not be able to buy as much produce, due to the impending food stamp cuts.
"I have a lot of customers who, they say they're gonna get hurt out of it," said Salah Shubi, the market manager.
Beginning Friday, Nov. 1, SNAP benefits will decrease by 5.4 percent, because money from the 2009 Stimulus Package has run out.
Thomas Steinhauser, the director of Benefit Programs, says this could significantly impact the families that depend on the monthly benefits.
"For a family of four, if they lost 36 dollars a month in benefits, that would be pretty significant if you budgeted for that," he said.
Social Services says the impact doesn't just stop for families; the idea behind expanding benefits back in 2009 was that every $5 spent on SNAP lead to $9 of economic impact. The USDA says retailers will feel that hit, too.
Shubi worries his customers may shop in his market less frequently once the SNAP benefit reduction kicks in.
"Most of customers now, they be going to big stores," he said. "Of course, that's gonna hurt us a lot, you know."
Customers will likely flock to mega retailers like Walmart, where they can get more food for less money. Regardless of where they choose to shop, SNAP recipients will have less to spend.
"The analogy I use—if your boss came in and told you you were gonna get a 5.4 percent [salary] increase, you'd be pretty happy," Steinhauser said. "Similarly, if they told you you were gonna get [a] 5.4 percent decrease, it'd be pretty tough."
Most households will see about a 5.5 percent decrease in their SNAP allotments. The decrease will depend on several things, including income, household size and expenses. Single individuals will receive about $11 less than last month, while a family of five or six will have to get by on about $50 fewer dollars.
Copyright 2013 by Young Broadcasting of Richmond
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