Millions of people will see cuts in their food stamp benefits before the November holiday season, and more cuts could be expected down the road.
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program changes will take effect next month, since increases from the 2009 stimulus package, known as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, are coming to an end.
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that benefits significantly increased over the course of the recession.
SNAP currently serves more than 23 million households, or nearly 48 million people. On average, each household receives $275 each month. Once the cuts take hold, a family of four will receive roughly $36 less each month.
But bigger cuts could be down the road. In September, the U.S. House passed a bill slashing billions annually from SNAP. The bill said that the program's growth remained out of control, even as the economy slowly improved.
"This bill eliminates loopholes, ensures work requirements, and puts us on a fiscally responsible path," Indiana U.S. Rep. Marlin Stutzman told the New York Times.
"In the real world, we measure success by results. It’s time for Washington to measure success by how many families are lifted out of poverty and helped back on their feet, not by how much Washington bureaucrats spend year after year."
The bill would trim $40 billion from SNAP over the next 10 years. It would require adults between 18 and 50 who don't have children to find jobs or enroll in a work-training program. Recipients could also be limited to three months of benefits depending on the circumstances.
Michigan Sen. Debbie Stabenow, chairwoman of the Senate's agriculture committee, told the New York Times that the bill was "a monumental waste of time."
Some state agencies are trying to get the word out about November's cuts.
Alexis Lambert, communications director for the Florida Department of Children and Families, told CNBC her agency has posted flyers, added a note on its website and placed an announcement on its call center hold message.
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