“Ohio families receiving food stamps could get an unwelcome surprise come January: $50 less every month in assistance.
For the 869,000 households enrolled in the program for the poorest Ohioans, that could amount to about $520 million annually out of the grocery budgets.
Because of the way the federal government calculates utility expenses for people receiving the benefit, a mild winter nationwide last year, and a lower price for natural gas, many families could experience a significant cut in aid, those familiar with the program say.
Recipients should get a letter from the state Department of Job and Family Services this month explaining the change, said Ben Johnson, a spokesman for the agency.
Meanwhile, food banks and others that distribute food assistance are bracing for increased demand.
‘They are going to increase hunger among our most vulnerable — working families, seniors, children, and persons with disabilities,’ said Lisa Hamler-Fugitt, executive director of the Ohio Association of Foodbanks.”
Later in the same article :
“Jack Frech, director of the Athens County Department of Job and Family Services in southeastern Ohio, said the loss of funds will cause a true hardship.
‘Fifty dollars would be devastating’ to families, he said. ‘These are folks that have already fallen off the fiscal cliff.’ Mr. Frech added that many of his agency’s clients are not affected by lower natural gas prices.
‘The majority of folks [here] don’t heat with natural gas in the first place,’ he said. ‘They heat with fuel oil and propane.’ ”
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Louis DeCola, Jr. © 2012 The Hygiology Post