Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Cost of living adjustments mean benefit cuts for many Louisiana SNAP recipients

by BIZ Magazine

(The Center Square) — More than a third of Louisiana households in the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program will face benefit cuts next year as a result of cost of living adjustments to federal programs.

The Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services recently announced 145,330 SNAP households, or about 34% of Louisianans receiving the food stamps, will face an average reduction of approximately $47.15 in monthly benefits beginning in January.

The decrease stems from an 8.7% cost of living adjustment in federal Social Security Retirement, Survivors and Disability Insurance, Supplemental Security Income, and some Veterans Administration payments. The COLA, calculated by the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, is based on the Consumer Price Index, and the 2023 increase is the largest since an 11.2% jump in 1981.

“Monthly benefits for individual Social Security recipients will increase on average from $1,680 to $1,827 (more than $140 per month),” according to DCFS. “The monthly maximum benefit amount for SSI recipients is also increasing by $73 (from $841 in 2022 to $914 in 2023.)”

The increases are pushing many over the eligibility limit for SNAP and other programs, including the Family Independence Temporary Assistance Program, and Kinship Care Subsidy Program.

In addition to the SNAP benefit reductions, 1,414 Louisiana SNAP recipients will exceed the eligibility limit and lose their benefits entirely, while about 1% of FITAP and KCSP households will also face benefit reductions.

“Currently, SNAP recipients receive Emergency Allotments, which brings them to the maximum benefit amount for their household size,” according to DCFS. “Benefit reductions for these households may not be noticeable until Emergency Allotments expire once the Public Health Emergency ends.”

DCFS will use an electronic file of benefit amounts from the Social Security Administration to begin making income adjustments to SNAP and FITAP applicants beginning in January.

The agency is urging households facing the loss or reduction of benefits to contact Louisiana 211 for information on additional assistance.

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