Food stamp benefit decreases take effect

Friday, November 1, 2013 | 9:36 p.m. CDT; updated 8:19 p.m. CDT, Saturday, November 2, 2013

COLUMBIA — Starting Friday, 18,000 Boone County residents who receive food stamp benefits will see a decrease in their monthly amounts.

Temporary benefits added in 2009 under the stimulus package expired Oct. 31.

Rebecca Woelfel, the communication director at the Missouri Department of Social Services, said benefits in Boone County in September totaled $2.4 million. In Missouri, 905,311 individuals receive food-stamp assistance. Statewide, $115 million in assistance was paid last month.

The impact will vary depending on household size, income and expenses, Woelfel said in an email.

A family of four with no income, for example, will see its monthly household benefits go from about $668 this month to $632 in November, a 5 percent decrease.

This amount is still better than the household benefits in October 2008, when that same family of four with no income received $588.

The Food Bank for Central & Northeast Missouri might be picking up the slack.

"We acknowledge there may be an additional demand for food (due to these decreases), but we are confident our staff and donors will meet the demand, just as we have for 32 years," said Scott Gordon, the food bank's communications coordinator.

Thomas Johnson, 74, of Columbia said he lives on a fixed income and depends on food stamps and the food bank.

He said he would likely frequent the food bank more often to supplement the decreases in government benefits.

"I am grateful for what I am given," he said. "I haven't really suffered, but (the decreases) scare me."

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