Ohio families receiving food stamps could get an unwelcome surprise come January: $50 less every month in assistance.
For the 869,000 households enrolled in the program for the poorest Ohioans, that could amount to about $520 million annually out of the grocery budgets.
Because of the way the federal government calculates utility expenses for people receiving the benefit, a mild winter nationwide last year, and a lower price for natural gas, many families could experience a significant cut in aid, those familiar with the program say.
Recipients should get a letter from the state Department of Job and Family Services this month explaining the change, said Ben Johnson, a spokesman for the agency.
Meanwhile, food banks and others that distribute food assistance are bracing for increased demand.
“They are going to increase hunger among our most vulnerable — working families, seniors, children, and persons with disabilities,” said Lisa Hamler-Fugitt, executive director of the Ohio Association of Foodbanks.