By Amber Moodie-Dyer
Policy Analyst, Budget & Tax Center
About 1.7 million low-income people in North Carolina will see their food assistance cut when a temporary boost to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as food stamps) expires November 1, new data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) show. SNAP benefits will average only about $1.40 per person per meal after the cut.
Congress enacted the benefit boost as part of the 2009 Recovery Act to deliver high “bang-for-the-buck” economic stimulus and ease hardship. The Recovery Act boosted SNAP’s maximum monthly benefits by 13.6 percent beginning in April 2009. It provided that SNAP benefit levels would continue at the new, higher amount until SNAP’s regular annual inflation adjustments to the maximum benefit exceeded the Recovery Act amount. But Congress has since voted to accelerate the sunset of the benefit increase to October 31 of this year.