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Food Stamps

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Despite the improvements in the economy, one in five Florida residents is always relying on food stamps. Although the amount of people using the program in South and Central Florida has reduced within the recent months, the totals still remain at almost record highs. There are now many people in Congress that want to scale back the food stamp program spending, claiming that the $70 billion per year costs are not sustainable any more. As a result, that would cut off benefits which max out at around $526 for a family of three. That applies to thousands of low income individuals who housing and child care expenses are taking over half of their earnings.

Those who are most affected have earnings just above the income limit, which is 130 percent of the poverty line. Current law offsets some of the child care and housing costs so that parents with income above the 130 percent cap would still be able to qualify for food stamps to feed their families. The House bill would remove that provision and reduce the amount of people who would be considered eligible for receiving benefits. Those who support the bill say it has to be done in order to reduce the amount of spending that has become out of control.

However, there are many recipients of food stamps who say that they can barely feed themselves and their families based on the amount of benefits that they receive currently. Many of the individuals do what they can to figure out how to make the benefits last and feed everyone in their families. One woman who was a cancer patient and had disability payments and the traditional amount of food stamps every month said that she was living on tuna, fruits, salads, and pot pies.

People who receive their benefits claim that it’s not enough for them to live on and that although they are grateful for everything they receive, it’s a struggle for them to make ends meet. Some people feel ashamed that they have to use food stamps in order to feed themselves or their families, though many people don’t have a choice of what they could do otherwise. For those who are already almost at the poverty limit based on these issues, the cuts would make it even harder for them to be able to live comfortably or provide food for their families.

Parents who have their kids enrolled in meal programs at their local school would also be affected. Those who are using these programs may find that they are no longer an option for their child because they would not be eligible for food stamps anymore when based on their income and other factors. This is an issue for many parents because they use the meal programs at the schools to make up for the lack of food that is available in their households. When these programs are no longer available, it runs the risk that more children will go hungry as well.

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