First, my boilerplate on the subject - The best way to cut food stamp expenditures is a living wage.
I got another email to send to my Congresswoman, Ann Kirkpatrick. After a little thought, I sent her my story about food stamp cuts. Now I'll share it here, with a few additional pieces of information.
I did not reapply for food stamps last month; this month is my first without them.
In October 2012, my food stamps came to $54 a month - enough for a week's worth of groceries, and last into a second week with only fill-ins. Then in November 2012, there was a $20 cut, the result of some hostage deal with the Republicans, from God knows when. In January 2013 I got my COLA of $16, which led to another cut ($7) to food stamps, giving me an $11 net loss of spendable income from the year before, and food stamps cut in half, to $27.
For one month in the fall of 2013 I got a raise to $31, making the $11 cut the next month (the cut for single person households) take me to an even $20 a month. In December I got notification that it was time for me to reapply, or my eligibility would end on December 31, 2013. I also learned my COLA would be $15, taking my SSDI to $982. I could not bring myself to reapply; there would probably be another cut because of the rise in my income, and I knew that any further cut in the farm bill would take me out of the program completely. Applying again would be demoralizing, to say the least.
I am lucky; I have reached a place where my mortgage payment is around a third of my income. But only a few years ago I was paying more than 45% of my income for housing, and these cuts would have been devastating. We had three years without any COLA, and I was paying back arrears on my mortgage (one missed payment and lots of late fees). I'm sure there are others with a similar income whose stamps have been cut as much as mine, who still pay that percentage on housing. I know my mortgage payment is lower than rent on even a studio apartment would be.
Well, that's my story and I'm sticking to it. I know that others are in worse shape, and further cuts in food stamps are likely to be part of any farm bill that gets passed. I don't mean to complain; I'm in pretty good shape right now. But I wanted to get some numbers up to show what cuts already made have done to me, as representative of a group. Thanks for listening.