CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) — More families than ever are worried about putting food on the table right now. It’s because of a major decrease in food stamp, or SNAP, benefits.

SNAP stands for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. When COVID-19 hit, the federal government gave people extra SNAP benefits. West Virginia has 167,000 families that received those increases, and 80% of those people already live below the federal poverty rate.

On average, each of those families stands to lose $200 in monthly food benefits. Advocates want the state to give them “American Rescue Plan” dollars instead. However, West Virginia Governor Jim Justice is not sure that’s allowable is and looking for other ways to help.

“You know with these incredible surpluses that we’ve got going on in the State of West Virginia, we don’t need people going hungry. That’s all there is to it. We just plain don’t need people going hungry in West Virginia. And I think that’s the sentiment of the House and the Senate and all of us together,” said Justice.

“Instead, West Virginia could be using those dollars to help subsidize these families, you know, these families that are going to be losing so much of their ability to put food on the table,” said Seth Distefano with the West Virginia Center on Budget & Policy.

This year the governor already budgeted $10 million to supplement food banks and promises more funding if that runs out.

Now it isn’t just SNAP that is being cut post COVID-19. There are concerns that 6 million Americans, many in our region, who signed up for Medicaid coverage during the pandemic, could be cut from that health care program.