Food stamp benefits to drop Friday

Millions of Americans who receive food stamp benefits will lose some of their benefits on Friday when a federal measure sunsets.

Thousands of Missourians who use food stamps will receive less money to work with when a federal provision sunsets Thursday.

The federal Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program received a funding boost as part of the American Recovery and Recovery Act in 2009. That boost ends on Halloween. Unless Congress intervenes, those using food stamps will see noticeable reductions in the benefits they receive.

Missouri Department of Social Services communications director Rebecca Woelfel said in an email the amount a person receives in food stamps depends on several variables including income, household size and expenses. As an example, Woelfel said a family of four with no income would receive a monthly benefit of $632 in November, down from $688 in October, a roughly 5.5 percent decrease. In all, DSS figures show more than 950,000 Missourians received SNAP benefits in 2012, including more than 19,500 in Boone County, more than 9,000 in Cole County and close to 6,000 in Callaway County. Missourians received more than $1.4 billion in food stamps in 2012.

Tipton resident Seth Hackney, 62, said he currently receives $71 in food stamps each month. He said that is just barely enough to keep him adequately fed when combined with several trips to area churches each month for free food. Hackney said he was frustrated by the fact that he is essentially at the mercy of federal policymakers when it comes to his benefits.

"I'd have a hard time eating a regular diet without food stamps," he said. "I wouldn't starve, but I would be eating bologna sandwiches every night."