Montana Joins Others in Avoiding Food-Stamp Cuts

By Beacon Staff

HELENA — Gov. Steve Bullock will follow the lead of Connecticut and New York to keep $2 million in food-stamp benefits for Montana residents.

Bullock’s office said Wednesday the Montana Democrat will increase home-heating assistance by $24,000 to preserve Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits.

“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 farm bill recently passed by Congress raises the amount of energy assistance that households in some states must receive to qualify for additional SNAP benefits.

Recipients in those states where nominal heating payments are tied to higher SNAP benefits must receive at least $20 in energy assistance before qualifying for the additional food-stamp benefits.

Bullock will increase the payments made through the Low Income Energy Assistance Program so 2,172 people will meet that threshold.

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

The governors of Connecticut and New York announced similar moves earlier this month.

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