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Michiganders who get government food assistance will feel funding cut this week

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio
(file photo)

Hundreds of thousands of Michiganders who rely on government programs to put food on their table will be getting less money to buy groceries starting November First.

Back in 2009, the federal government pumped billions of dollars into food assistance programs. The money came from the federal economic stimulus. But that ends November first.  After that, Michiganders getting help buying food from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program will see their monthly benefits drop by about five to ten percent.

Dave Akerly is a Michigan Department of Human Services spokesman.   He says about 1.75 million Michiganders rely on food assistance programs.

“It’s down about 8-9% from where it was at the height of the recession,” says Akerly, “So we’re going in the right direction in terms of less people needing it. But those who need it still need it.”

The Michigan League for Public Policy is sounding the alarm about the looming reduction in food assistance funding.

“Everyone who receives food assistance is going to see a reduction in the amount of benefits they receive each month,” says Melissa Smith, a senior policy analyst with the Michigan League for Public Policy, “It’s not a huge amount of money, but it will be about $36 a month for the family of four.”  

The Michigan League for Public Policy fears this may just be the beginning.

Congress is debating deep cuts in future food assistance funding as part of negotiations over the next federal farm bill.

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
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