20,000 Ohioans could lose SNAP benefits when work requirement takes effect

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CHILLICOTHE, Ohio (WCMH) — As many as 20,000 Ohioans could lose access to Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) when new, stricter work requirements take effect.

Richard Whinery, a board member at Good Samaritan Food Pantry in Chillicothe, says he anticipates the change will result in more families in need.

“More people in a bad way,” Whinery said. “It’s going to be people who are marginally income-sufficient and without the SNAP, it’s going to bring them to the point where they need extra help.”

Ross County is one of 29 counties in Ohio that will no longer be eligible to waive the food stamp work requirements for able-bodied adults

Under the new rule, a county’s unemployment rate has to be more than 6 percent to continue to qualify for a waiver of the work requirement. The goal is to move more people off the benefits and into full time work.

The Trump administration formalized the new work requirements last month.

“We’re taking action to reform our SNAP program in order to restore the dignity of work to a sizable segment of our population and be respectful of the taxpayers who fund the program,” said Sonny Perdue, Secretary of Agriculture. “Americans are generous people who believe it is their responsibility to help their fellow citizens when they encounter a difficult stretch. That’s the commitment behind SNAP, but, like other welfare programs, it was never intended to be a way of life.”

Sharon Koch, a volunteer at the Good Samaraitan Food Pantry says some people just aren’t capable of working. “They don’t have any skills…some of them don’t have a computer and don’t have transportation to get to a computer.”

Will Petrick at Policy Matters Ohio says work requirements for food stamps misses the mark. “There’s kind of a basic foundation that all families need to thrive, to participate and so this moves it in the wrong direction,” Petrick said. “It takes away that basic need of food for people.”

“This has been pitched as we need to push people into work but there’s really no support for employment training for education, those types of supports for families,” Petrick said. 

The changes are set to take effect April 1.

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