FORT WAYNE – Millions of Americans, along with at least 925,000 Hoosiers, are about to see cuts to welfare benefits that help them buy food.
On Friday, the amount of assistance people receive monthly through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly called food stamps, will decrease.
The expiration of the federal stimulus bill has caused the cuts after pumping about $45.2 billion into the program since 2009.
For the past few years, a family of four in the program could have qualified for $668 a month to use toward food.
That will drop to $632 a month, a decrease of nearly 5 percent.
Officials with the states Family and Social Services Administration have notified recipients of SNAP about the changes.
Those who work for food banks and pantries have also been notifying their clients about the cuts and trying to prepare for a possible influx of people looking to use the agencies.
Were moving as much food as we can all the time, said Emily Weikert Bryant, executive director of Feeding Indianas Hungry. Being able to bump up what we can provide for a cut like this is difficult to do.
Feeding Indianas Hungry is a statewide association of food banks and pantries.
While officials at those food banks have been trying to prepare for the increase in possible clients, Bryant said its impossible to tell whether those affected by the welfare cuts will take advantage.
Were just waiting to see what happens, she said. Maybe people will get by with less, or maybe theyll utilize a pantry for the first time.
Bryant said that the first 10 days of November, when some SNAP recipients begin receiving their benefits with the cuts for the first time, might be telling on how things go.