LOGAN — A proposal from the Trump Administration could result in a loss of benefits for 3.1 million Americans, including a loss of benefit considerations to 2,960 people in Hocking County.
The proposal is a recent one of many to cut food stamps and revise the rules of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), previously called “food stamps”.
USDA is seeking to close a “loophole” in who can qualify for the SNAP program. By doing so, the department has estimated 1.7 million households (3.1 million people) would have their SNAP benefits taken away.
Basically, the USDA is attempting to change the requirements people must meet to receive SNAP benefits.
Trump’s proposal would end the practice of allowing low-income working people whose gross incomes are somewhat higher than the poverty level to receive SNAP benefits.
The idea behind the proposal is to save nearly $2 billion a year through cuts, but the USDA reported removing the people from SNAP may impact food security negatively.
In Hocking County, SNAP is distributed by Southeastern Ohio Job and Family Services.
To receive benefits without being considered a cut, a person must qualify for the categorical eligibility.
According to Southeastern Ohio Jobs and Family Services Eligibility and Referral Supervisor Jaqueline Stobbs, this proposal is similar to the business they had done in the past.
“It is so individuals can be categorically eligible; a couple of years ago, they made an expanded category eligibility, which took into account no resources,” she mentioned.
Citizens who have resources are going to be the targets to be cut from the food stamp program.
“I don’t necessarily think it is a bad thing, just sometimes difficult with rule changes because we have to get the workers onboard with the new rules,” Stobbs added.
It is unknown at the time of the eligibility requirements for SNAP, but in the past, the requirement was an amount of $2,000 in resources. At the current time there are no resource requirements; however, with the proposal, it would mean that caseworkers would need to verify resources.
“We just have to get verifications of resources now,” she mentioned. “It’s not bad if they have resources to use, like a bank account to fall on, though, it could be worse.”
Stobbs reported not all 2,960 people in Hocking County would lose SNAP, it would just mean other criteria would be considered as resources.
The Trump Administration has gone after food stamps in the past as well. In March, SNAP recipients increased work requirements, and in May, there was a new proposal to calculate poverty to keep Americans from receiving aid.
Last year, Trump recommended the idea of sending boxes of food, instead of SNAP benefits to people, which was more expensive of an idea than SNAP was itself.
The proposed rule change is open to public comments for 47 more days. Citizens can provide their individual input online at www.regulations.gov by searching for “SNAP” and clicking on “Revisions of Categorical Eligibility in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.