Food Assistance Recipients Could See Cuts In Benefits

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) -    Across Alabama, more than 914,000 people receive help through Federal food assistance program known as SNAP.But unless Congress takes action, they could see their benefits slashed.

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) received a boost by the 2009 stimulus package, but the increase is set to expire November 1st.

It would affect 17,240 households in Madison County alone.

"There are a lot of struggling families in Madison County, and sometimes we forget that because we are so high-tech and there is a lot of money here," said Mary Jo Dennison, Assistant Director of the Madison County Department of Human Resources.

Dennison says in July alone, they certified more than 17,000 households for food assistance benefits.

"Most of them are just struggling to meet ends meet with their utility and housing costs," said Dennison. "They do work, most people are employed, but it's just a matter of they aren't making enough money to support the families."

Alabama is set to lose $98 million in SNAP funding.  A family of three, living just over the poverty line, could be seeing about $30 less in federal food assistance each month.

Governor Bentley addressed the issue Friday, calling on churches and charitable organizations to step up and fill the need.

"We`re going to have to help our neighbors. It`s not always the government's job to do that," said Bentley. "We need to be caring about each other, taking care of each other like we did after the tornadoes."

Congress does have time to take action and keep the SNAP program funded at its current stimulus levels. However, House Republicans have proposed slashing SNAP funding by $40 billion over the next 10 years in an effort to cut back on the national deficit. It's a move that is staunchly opposed by Congressional Democrats.

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