Reuters

Stimulus spending that boosted benefits runs out on November 1.

On Friday, the food stamp program—aka SNAP—will get an automatic $5 billion budget cut, as a piece of the stimulus act that had boosted monthly benefits finally expires. Families will see their aid clipped by about 5 percent on average, or roughly $36 a month for a family of four who receives the maximum benefit, as shown in the graph below from the Center for Budget Policy and Priorities.

What difference does those cuts make? According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's thrifty meal plan, $36 is just about enough to feed an adult woman for a week. SNAP isn't the only food assistance program out there; children can get free and reduced prices lunches at school, for instance. But the point is that even small-sounding cuts to the safety net can have a big impact on the needy.

Top image: Katie Busker, 30, plays with her fourteen-month-old niece Jonnalyn Gibbs in the aisles of the Independence Food Pantry in Independence, Iowa. (Jessica Rinaldi/Reuters)

This post originally appeared on The Atlantic.

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. photo: Interstate 70 near Odessa, Mo.
    Transportation

    A Transportation Grant Program's Trump-Era Rebrand

    Under Trump, an Obama-era transportation grant program designed to fund innovative multi-modal projects became a rural highway-building machine.

  2. Life

    Tailored Place-Based Policies Are Key to Reducing Regional Inequality

    Economist Timothy Bartik details the need for place-based policy to combat regional inequality and help distressed places—strategies outlined in his new book.

  3. photo: Helsinki's national library
    Design

    How Helsinki Built ‘Book Heaven’

    Finland’s most ambitious library has a lofty mission, says Helsinki’s Tommi Laitio: It’s a kind of monument to the Nordic model of civic engagement.

  4. Three men wearing suits raise shovels full of dirt in front of an American flag.
    Equity

    How Cities and States Can Stop the Incentive Madness

    Economist Timothy Bartik explains why the public costs of tax incentives often outweigh the benefits, and describes a model business-incentive package.

  5. Equity

    Bernie Sanders and AOC Unveil a Green New Deal for Public Housing

    The Green New Deal for Public Housing Act would commit up to $180 billion over a decade to upgrading 1.2 million federally owned homes.

×