Governor preserves $2 million in SNAP benefits to 2,000 Montana households

The Prairie Star (3/12/2014)

HELENA – Governor Steve Bullock announced today that he has taken action to prevent over $2 million in cuts to Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Programs (SNAP) benefits for more than 2,000 low-income Montana families.

The cuts would have happened as a result of the new federal Farm Bill.

“Making this change is a common sense way to keep food on the tables of Montana families, while ensuring our economy doesn’t take a hit from these cuts,” Bullock said. “With this action, we’re sending a strong message that Montana seniors and people with disabilities shouldn’t have to choose between feeding their families and paying for medication or other necessities.”

The cuts in food assistance happened due to changes in the Farm Bill that raised the threshold of energy assistance that a household must receive in order to receive additional SNAP benefits. Through his actions today, Governor Bullock increased nominal payments from the Low Income Energy Assistance Program (LIEAP) to eligible participants to meet the increased threshold.

Gayle Gifford, Chief Executive Officer of the Montana Food Bank Network said, “We’re pleased to see the Governor taking this important action to mitigate the food assistance cuts that many seniors and families were facing. Without this action, these cuts would have caused unnecessary hardship for working parents, children, seniors and veterans who already struggle with food insecurity.”

Through this change, the Governor prevented more than $2 million in cuts to nutritional assistance annually to Montana families, while only costing the state approximately $24,000 more per year.

According to DPHHS, there are approximately 2,172 households in Montana that would have seen a reduction in assistance due to changes in the new Farm Bill.