Why are benefits changing?
Benefits are changing for two reasons. First, on October 1, 2013, some households may see an increase in SNAP benefits due to the annual cost of living adjustment (COLA). Second, benefits are changing because the temporary increase in SNAP benefits provided by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), commonly known as the stimulus package, are expected to expire on November 1, 2013, resulting in a decrease in SNAP benefits.
When are benefits changing?
On October 1, benefits may go up due to an increase in the cost of living. On November 1, benefits are expected to go down due to the end of the extra benefits provided by the 2009 law.
How much are my benefits going down on November 1?
Benefits depend on many things that are specific to each household, like income, household size and expenses. So it is hard to generalize how much each household’s benefits will change.
What if there is a mistake in my new benefit amount?
You cannot appeal a change mandated by federal law. Therefore, you are not entitled to a fair hearing as a result of the SNAP reduction by the federal government.
How can I eat healthy on a low budget?
Here are some places you can find tips to help you prepare healthy meals on a low budget:
The USDA Recipe Box http://www.fns.usda.gov/fncs-recipe-box helps you find healthy low cost recipes, create cookbooks and shopping lists. Use it to search for recipes based on total cost or cost per serving.
For food banks in your area call your local DSS office.
Or go to http://feedingamerica.org/foodbank-results.aspx?state=SC , and enter your zip code under Find My Food Bank.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
Q. Are Cost of Living Adjustments (COLAs) done every year?
A. Yes, these COLAs happen every year. The maximum benefit is adjusted every year. Other adjustments include updates to the standard deduction, shelter deduction, income tests (gross and net), and Disaster-SNAP allotment. By law, States must make these SNAP adjustments every October 1st.
Q. What is the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA)?
A. ARRA is also known as the stimulus package. It became law in 2009 in response to the recession.
Q. How did ARRA affect SNAP?
A. ARRA increased the maximum SNAP allotment to provide larger benefit amounts to clients.
Q. When will the changes from ARRA go into effect?
A. SNAP benefits are expected to decrease starting on November 1, 2013.
Q. How much will my benefits change on Nov. 1, 2013?
A. Your benefits depend on many things—income, household size and expenses. So it is hard to say exactly how your benefits will change.
Q. How will I be notified of a change in my SNAP benefits?
A. You will receive a notice in the mail. You may also hear about these changes via the news, at your local DSS office, or from retailers where you shop with your SNAP benefits.
Q. How do I check the balance for my SNAP benefits to know how much I have?
A. In South Carolina, a couple of easy ways are: