Iowans who receive benefits through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program will notice a smaller amount on their cash cards starting today. Kevin Concannon, a former Iowan and the U.S.D.A.’s Undersecretary for Food and Nutrition Services, says the federal government raised the amount of benefits by 13-percent back in 2009 to help those struggling during the recession.

It was a temporary increase. “The additional benefit added to the SNAP program expired the last day of October,” Concannon says. About 421,000 Iowans now receive SNAP benefits, or about 13-percent of the population. With the change beginning this morning, the federal government will be sending about 43-million fewer dollars to Iowa for food assistance.

Concannon says every person taking part in the program will see a decreased amount. “A single person receiving the benefit will see an $11 per month reduction and the current average benefit is about $133 dollars per month,” he says. “A four-person household will see a $36 per month reduction.”

Concannon served as the director of the Iowa Department of Human Services from 2003 to 2008. Cuts in SNAP benefits are also the subject of current debate in Congress as members of the House and Senate try to reach a compromise on a new farm bill.

By Karla James