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Published: Friday, 11/16/2012

Cut to food stamp program will be about $23 per household per month


A change in how the state calculates utility expenses for low-income Ohioans receiving food stamps means the effect of a cut to the food stamp program will be less than expected - about $23 per household per month, instead of $50. 

Food stamp benefits for Ohioans had been set to decrease in January by about $50 per household per month because of the way the federal government calculates utility expenses for people receiving the benefit, a mild winter nationwide last year, and a lower price for natural gas, as The Blade first reported Monday.

On Thursday, officials with the state's Department of Job and Family Services asked the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which administers the food stamp program, to use a different calculation that takes into account the cost of electric heat and propane. The USDA approved the change today.

As a result, households will see their monthly benefit decrease by about $23 beginning in January, rather than $50.

The average food-stamp recipient in Ohio receives $138 per person, per month, according to state statistics. As of August, more than 1.7 million individual Ohioans, or about 869,000 families, received the assistance. A total of $3 billion in benefits was issued in 2011 in Ohio; the program is federally funded.

In Lucas County, about 91,000 people — 46,000 households — receive the benefit.

Contact Kate Giammarise at: kgiammarise@theblade.com or 419-724-6091, or onTwitter @KateGiammarise.

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