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Saipan, CNMI – September 30, 2020: 3:02pm (RNZ PACIFIC): Food benefits are to be slashed by 25 percent in the Northern Marianas and others will no longer be eligible for food stamps at a time when thousands are out of work due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The comes after the islands’ Nutrition Assistance Program announced it would reduce income eligibility standards and maximum benefits due lack of funding.

Customer hold reusable green shopping bag with fruit and vegetable over Supermarket aisle blur defocused product shelves interior bokeh light background Image: 123RF

NAP was expected to slash the number of households from receiving benefits from 5,300 to a maximum of 4,500 across the CNMI.

Under the new eligibility standards, the income eligibility of a family of five would also be reduced from a gross income of $US2,515 to $US1,886.

For households who are currently certified beyond September, once October comes and their income is above the new standards, they will automatically receive a letter terminating their benefits.

Households that remain eligible will also receive letters of a reduction in their monthly benefits.

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