AL braces for multi-million dollar Food Stamp program funding cu - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

AL braces for multi-million dollar Food Stamp program funding cut

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) -

State officials expect the federal food stamp program to be cut by millions of dollars this year.

And that means Alabamians receiving assistance will get less, too.

There are 915,000 Alabamians on food assistance.

It's 20% of the state's population.

They're figures that quickly rose over the last six years during a difficult economic climate.

"There are more people that just can't make their dollars stretch far enough," says Mary Lois Monroe, Director of the Food Assistance Division.

Mary Lois Monroe knows how many people depend on federal food stamp money each month.

But she also knows that money is in jeopardy.

"The cost of the program is gonna go down as of November 1st."

That's because back in 2009 the federal government increased the amount it sent states for food assistance since more people were falling on hard times.

The increase was only supposed to last until October 31st.

"The family's benefits are gonna be reduced by an average of $20-25 dollars a month."

But that's not all. Legislation in Congress right now could cut $40 billion dollars from the food assistance program over the next 10 years.

It would also raise eligibility requirements allowing fewer people to apply.

How would it affect Alabamians?

"It's difficult to say right now because we don't know what the legislation will look like," adds Monroe.

But one thing is for sure.

"Any decreases in benefits is gonna result in a decrease in economic activity."

Alabama's food assistance program pumps more than $1 billion dollars into the state's economy each year.

But House republicans in Washington say the program cuts are to cut down on reliance many have on government programs.

Some House democrats say cutting these programs will only make the poor poorer.

Officials say if the federal program is cut, they expect to see a greater demand for local food banks and charities.

Copyright 2013  WSFA 12 News.  All rights reserved.

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