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Boost for SNAP benefits to expire soon

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THOUSANDS of food stamp recipients on Guam may have to put less food on their tables when the temporary boost to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program expires at the end of this month, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said yesterday.

The temporary increase in SNAP benefits was provided by the 2009 American Reinvestment and Recovery Act, which ends at the end of the fiscal year and is not likely to be restored by Congress.

The House has voted to slash almost $4 billion a year from the $80 billion-a-year program in an effort to cut costs. A Senate bill would cut around $400 million a year.

Amid the still unresolved budget crisis in Washington, the program could face another shortfall if the government is shuttered past Nov. 1.

According to the Department of Public Health and Social Services, SNAP clients on Guam are receiving a maximum amount of benefits of $295 per household this month. The amount will drop to $279 beginning Nov. 1.

For families of eight, the cut will be $97 – from $1,773 on Oct. 1 down to $1,676 on Nov. 1.

According to data from the USDA, the number of SNAP recipients on Guam increased from 43,824 in June 2012 to 45,694 in June 2013. Data showed Guam recipients received a monthly average of $216 per person in 2012, the highest amount of benefits in the United States.

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