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Federal Cuts in Food Stamp Program Takes Effect in Mississippi

By Paul Boger | Published 01 Nov 2013 10:11am | comments
Hundreds of thousands of Mississippians will see cuts in their SNAP benefits starting Nov. 1, 2013.
Starting today, hundreds of thousands of Mississippians will see there food stamps cut. MPB's Paul Boger reports on how the reduction in federal aid will affect Mississippians who depend on the program.
Latice Moby used to work in a nursing home in Jackson, but last year she was laid off. Now, she's unemployed, and depends on programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program -- or SNAP -- to buy groceries for her family. She said it'll be even tougher now that her SNAP benefits have been cut.
"It's going to be pretty hard because when you're trying to take care of people that don't have that much money as I might do." said Moby "When you've got to share the little stamps you have, it's going to be hard just losing that little bit."
More than 667 thousand Mississippians received on average $124 a month in food stamps, over the last year. That amounts to nearly 1 billion dollars in aid to Mississippi. But now that the 2009 stimulus package that expanded SNAP has expired, residents receiving aid will notice an immediate 5 percent cut in the amount of money they get each month. 
The decrease in SNAP benefits may also lead to an increase in Mississippians relying on charities already stretched thin.
Barbara Tarter runs a Salvation Army food bank. She says her organization is already having trouble filling demand.
"I'm finding that a lot of families are having to double up." said Tarter. "Nieces and nephews are having to move in with grandparents or their aunts and uncles. My family numbers are increasing. There are two, sometimes three, families staying in one household. The need is huge out there. It makes you want to say 'What are we going to do? What are we going to do?"
Mississippi SNAP Director Cathy Sykes agrees the cut in aid will hurt a number of Mississippians. 
"There will be a negative impact." said Sykes. "People get used to an amount of income and they depend on the SNAP benefits just like anybody would depend on income coming into the household. So it will have a negative impact and they'll have to make some adjustments to make up and account for the loss.
The highest concentration of  Mississippians receiving SNAP benefits are in the delta.


Hundreds of thousands of Mississippians will see cuts in their SNAP benefits starting Nov. 1, 2013.



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