Starting Friday, more than two million Illinois residents who participate in the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program will see their benefits decrease temporarily -- and additional cuts could lie ahead in the near future.
As WBEZ notes, the cuts that go into effect Friday means a family of three is losing $29 a month in benefits. For a family of four, that goes up to $36 a month. Individuals will lose $11 per month.
The cuts are due to the extra $45 billion spent on the food stamp program since 2009 as part of the federal stimulus package drying up. The cuts effect 47 million people nationally.
While the dollar amount of the cuts may seem relatively modest, Illinois Department of Human Services spokeswoman Januari Smith told the Chicago Tribune "it will have an impact on those who depend on it."
"People will have to make tough decisions, including choosing between necessary medicines and putting food on the table," Smith told the paper.
The cuts are expected to put an additional strain on area food pantries and other forms of assistance.
Paul Morello of the Greater Chicago Food Depository told CBS Chicago he expects to see more people turning to pantries and soup kitchens for a meal as a result of the cuts. His organization has already seen visits to Cook County pantries increase 70 percent over the last five years.
Meanwhile, some House Republicans are pushing to further reducing SNAP funding by another $4 billion each year for 10 years, WBEZ reports. The Senate is also proposing further SNAP cuts, though it is pushing for a smaller funding reduction.