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Food Assistance Cuts Affect Millions Of Ohioans

A cut to food assistance goes into effect across the country today, Nov. 1. The end of federal stimulus funds will affect close to 2 million people in Ohio who depend on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, for food.

After the economy crashed, the 2009 Recovery Act propped up food assistance with  billions in additional funds. That money expired on Halloween, which means reduced benefits for almost all SNAP recipients.

Leslie Bates of Greene County Job and Family Services says the average cut in Greene County is $26 per family.

“Twenty-six dollars is a big difference,” she said. “That could be a couple days meal.”

The average amount of food assistance per person per meal will now be $1.40. The cut affects about one in six Ohioans, and one in seven people across the country. That’s about 87,000 people in Montgomery County alone.

The change comes while Congress continues to debate the lapsed Farm Bill. The omnibus bill that funds food assistance expired October 1, and the U.S. Senate and House have yet to agree on a new version. For the moment, the bill's expiration won't affect SNAP, but the new version of the bill is likely to include even deeper cuts.

Last month a change in eligibility requirements also expired that could bump some people off the program in Ohio.