Twenty-nine dollars. That’s how much an average family on food stamps will lose per month because of cuts effective today. And that’s no small sum—$29 comes out to about 16 (insanely cheap) meals a month for a family of three.

The benefit slashing comes as a result of the 2009 Economic Recovery Act expiring. The Act had boosted aid to the food stamp program, but as the law expires so does the funding. Democrats made a deal back in December 2010 that ultimately resulted in accelerating the termination of the increased benefits, so here we are with 48 million food stamp recipients facing cuts.

The Food Bank for New York City conducted a study that found, even before today’s cuts, that 75% of food stamp recipients were running out of benefits three weeks into the month, which casts an even darker light over the situation. Without very high hopes, it seems we’ll be left waiting for the results of Congressional negotiations over a new farm bill, which has the potential to include even more cuts to the program.

[via NY Times, CBPP]