People struggling to put healthy food on their tables with the help of food stamps will have that much more trouble come November 1, when benefits in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program are cut. The benefits cut comes because funding through the 2009 stimulus bill is expiring—but it's expiring before the need does, with unemployment and underemployment still high. The amount being cut will sound small to members of Congress with their $174,000 salaries, but for food budgets strained past the breaking point, it's a big deal
The USDA says the average monthly benefit is about $275 per household.
The exact reduction depends on the recipients’ situation, but a family of four with no other changes in circumstances will receive $36 less per month, according to the USDA. At today's average prices, that translates to four fewer whole chickens each month.
Or, say, a gallon of milk, a pound of broccoli, a pound of bananas, a dozen eggs, and a pound of spaghetti every single week
. Or two pounds of chicken legs, two pounds of rice, a pound of apples, a pound of tomatoes, and two pounds of iceberg lettuce. Any way you slice it, that's a lot of food to lose, and of course it's coming out of the food budgets of people who are already stretched to the limit getting enough food and healthy food. But to Republicans in Congress, the question is not keeping the budget intact, it's how much to cut.