For 1 Million in Wash. State, Food Stamps to Shrink Starting Nov.

Oct 31, 2013

An estimated 1.1 million low-income people in Washington state, or 1 in 6 residents, will find less money in their monthly food allowances starting Nov. 1.

That’s because food stamps, otherwise known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), are being cut. For most families, their monthly food allowance will be reduced anywhere between $11 and $36.   

"Food is expensive and it varies from place to place," said Marcy Bowers with the Statewide Poverty Action Network. "And so an $11 cut can mean the difference between food insecurity and food security for people, whether  they’ll go hungry for a couple of days, whether they’ll have enough at the end of the month. Those are the kinds of things that it will mean to a lot of families."

According to Gina Clark of Food Lifeline, a nonprofit agency that distributes food throughout western Washington, the cuts will mean the equivalent of 16 meals a month that a family of three will be missing. Clark says the reduced benefits will mean more pressure on local food banks that are already stretched thin. 

The food benefits program received a temporary boost in funding as part of the federal stimulus package. But that additional funding expires Nov. 1. 

The cuts will affect an estimated 47 million low-income people across the country.