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214,000 Idahoans affected by food stamp cuts

214,000 Idahoans affected by food stamp cuts

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho - Starting Friday, federal food stamp benefits will be trimmed by $5 billion. The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare said it will impact the 214,000 Idahoans who get food stamps.

The decrease comes from money that was being used as part of the federal stimulus fund and as of Thursday the cash ran out. According to the federal government, the cuts impact 47 million Americans, including 9 million elderly or disabled people. Cheryl Ward has arthritis and uses food stamps.

"The price of everything is going up and yet my food stamps are going down, you got to be kidding me," Ward said.

Each month, she gets $16 in food stamps. She sells crochet to help pay for food.

"When they said I was getting $15 a month that is supposed to last me a whole month. I don't know how I'm going to do it."

A single person in Idaho could see their benefits lowered by as much as $11. Meanwhile, a family of four will see a drop of $36. Many families are already supplementing food stamps by getting food at the food bank.

"The last two weeks of the month we may get 60 or 70 families a day because they have run out of food stamp money," said Chairman of the Idaho Falls Community food bank, Buck Horton.

Horton said October was a record month for them. He also said cutting food stamps will have other impacts.

"More donations are going to be needed. We may have to spend more money in order to keep food on the shelves so that they can have food," he said.

A Senate version of the next farm bill, which funds food stamps, proposes cutting nearly $4 billion more over 10 years. The bill in the House cuts $39 billion more.

If you receive food stamps and have specific questions, you can call the Department of Health and Welfare's helpline at 800-843-6154.

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