Tag: Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program

Food stamp recipients would have to work under proposed farm bill
Welfare

Food stamp recipients would have to work under proposed farm bill

Video by Jennifer Sangalang, FLORIDA TODAY Wochit WASHINGTON — Republicans controlling the House are proposing sweeping new work mandates on the nation’s more than 40 million food stamp recipients as they kick off debate on an election-year overhaul of the government’s food and farm programs.
(Photo: Robert F. Bukaty, AP) The legislation has traditionally been bipartisan, blending support from urban Democrats supporting nutrition programs with farm state lawmakers supporting crop insurance, farm credit, and land conservation. “We believe breaking this poverty cycle is very important,” Conaway said.
The latest proposal on food stamps, officially called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, would require states to impose stricter uniform work requirements for SNAP recipients between 18 and 59.
Stricter rules apply to able-bodied adults without dependents between the ages of 18 and 49, who are subject to a three-month limit of benefits unless they meet a work requirement of 80 hours per month.
Under the new bill, that requirement would be expanded to apply to all work-capable adults, mandating that they either work or participate in work training for 20 hours per week with the exception of seniors, pregnant women, caretakers of children under the age of six, or people with disabilities.
The new work requirements would take effect in 2021, and increase to 25 hours per week in 2026.
Each new SNAP recipient would have one month to comply with the rule.
House Agriculture Committee Ranking Member Collin Peterson, D-Minnesota, criticized the bill for “breaking up the long-standing, bipartisan, urban-rural farm bill alliance,” calling it “a dangerous and unproductive step that will only sow division and jeopardize both this and future farm bills.”
The farm bill can give them that.

Increased work requirements for food stamps affecting several Georgia residents
Welfare

Increased work requirements for food stamps affecting several Georgia residents

Sitting on sofa in her apartment, reading to her 1-year-old daughter, Celine Schmall says it wasn’t long ago that she didn’t know how she could afford to feed her little girl.
The young mother was working, but still needed food stamps.
“People always say [to people on food stamps], ‘oh you’re lazy or you could be working more hours.’” Schmall told CB46.
“Well, the truth is, I’m paying the majority out of pocket just to be able to afford for her to go to daycare, so that I can go to work and make money.
She is currently in school, and says she still worries about the future of the program for others like her.
The Division of Family and Children’s Services, which issues food stamps, doesn’t know how the executive order will impact the Georgia program.
The program requires able bodied adults without dependents to work 80 hours a month or to be in a workfare program in order to qualify.
“The majority of the people who are getting food stamps are not in that category of able -bodied adults without dependents,” Jones said.
“The majority of those people receiving benefits are single parents with young children, medical condition, or advanced age.” Jones indicated that Georgia could be ahead of other states in implementing more work requirements because it has the SNAP Works program, which, in partnership with Goodwill, helps recipients with job training and positions.
The state says this was a proactive approach made years ago to promote employment for those in need of assistance.

House GOP bill would lock the poor out of food stamps if they don’t work
Unemployment

House GOP bill would lock the poor out of food stamps if they don’t work

Many food stamp recipients could be locked out of the program for up to three years if they fail to work or enroll in job training, under a bill proposed by House Republicans seeking to overhaul the government benefit. “Benefits are critically important and serve a vital role in the safety net aimed at catching people if they should fall into poverty,” House Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway co-wrote in an op-ed published Thursday in USA Today. “But equally important is a focus on helping these same people climb back out of poverty.”
President Donald Trump signed an executive order Tuesday directing federal agencies to promote employment for those on public assistance.
Earlier this year, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services began allowing states to mandate that certain Medicaid enrollees must work for the first time in the program’s history, while the Department of Housing and Urban Development is looking into the issue for those in subsidized housing.
The Department of Agriculture also wants to strengthen the work requirements in the food stamp program, officially known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP.
The House farm bill calls for expanding the number of people subject to work requirements.
About 3.5 million of the roughly 41 million people enrolled in SNAP are subject to this provision.
It would also mandate recipients to work or participate in a training program for a minimum of 25 hours a week starting in fiscal 2026.
In households that receive SNAP and have at least one non-disabled adult, 58% are employed and 82% worked in the year prior to or after enrollment, according to the left-leaning Center for American Progress.

House GOP bill would lock the poor out of food stamps if they don’t work
Welfare

House GOP bill would lock the poor out of food stamps if they don’t work

Many food stamp recipients could be locked out of the program for up to three years if they fail to work or enroll in job training, under a bill proposed by House Republicans seeking to overhaul the government benefit. “Benefits are critically important and serve a vital role in the safety net aimed at catching people if they should fall into poverty,” House Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway co-wrote in an op-ed published Thursday in USA Today. “But equally important is a focus on helping these same people climb back out of poverty.”
President Donald Trump signed an executive order Tuesday directing federal agencies to promote employment for those on public assistance.
Earlier this year, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services began allowing states to mandate that certain Medicaid enrollees must work for the first time in the program’s history, while the Department of Housing and Urban Development is looking into the issue for those in subsidized housing.
The Department of Agriculture also wants to strengthen the work requirements in the food stamp program, officially known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP.
The House farm bill calls for expanding the number of people subject to work requirements.
About 3.5 million of the roughly 41 million people enrolled in SNAP are subject to this provision.
It would also mandate recipients to work or participate in a training program for a minimum of 25 hours a week starting in fiscal 2026.
In households that receive SNAP and have at least one non-disabled adult, 58% are employed and 82% worked in the year prior to or after enrollment, according to the left-leaning Center for American Progress.

Grocers ask judges to keep food stamp payments secret
Welfare

Grocers ask judges to keep food stamp payments secret

ST. PAUL, Minn. – An industry group that represents grocers asked the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday to block the release of more than a decade’s worth of records showing how much retailers have been paid each year in the food stamp program.
The Food Marketing Institute appealed a district court judge who ruled in 2016 that the annual sales figures that grocers, convenience stores and others get through SNAP are public records.
Releasing the annual sales figures, Villareal said, would allow competitors to capture SNAP sales, thus harming established stores.
“What’s wrong with people knowing the financial status of the government-supported store in their neighborhood?” Beam asked.
“Isn’t that speculative?” asked Judge Raymond Gruender.
Previously, the Argus Leader prevailed when the court ruled that the information was not barred by law from release.
Wednesday, the court considered another argument: Whether the sales data fell under a category that protects trade secrets and sensitive business information from being released under the Freedom of Information Act.
Jon Arneson, a lawyer who has represented the Argus Leader on the seven-year case, told the judges that the FOIA exemption in question was designed to protect information that companies submit to government when they do business with the government.
“This is a record of having done business with the government,” Arneson said.
“It’s a completely different kettle of fish.” Judge Jane Kelly asked Arneson whether SNAP payments could be used in models to help competitors predict overall sales amounts.

‘Pets can’t get food stamps’ but can get help
Welfare

‘Pets can’t get food stamps’ but can get help

Pets can become like family members, but there isn’t much relief available for them when owners fall on hard times.
Howard and Lori Sandler have set up a corner of their Fort Gratiot party store as a food pantry for dogs and cats. “Unfortunately, pets can’t get food stamps,” Howard Sandler said.
The pantry is called the Ben and Zoe Project, after the organizers’ pets.
(Photo: Brian M. Wells/Times Herald) (Photo: Brian M. Wells/Times Herald) Sometimes people need some extra help to the next paycheck, and the pantry can help make sure their animals still eat in the meantime, Howard Sandler said.
The the food the project purchases comes from reputable, well-known brands and comes in both dry food and canned, Howard Sandler said.
He started the project in late 2017 and spent about $1,000 of his own money to get it running.
The couple is thinking about selling the business, and want to create something that lives on beyond it. “We want to leave something,” Howard Sandler said.
Contact education reporter Jeremy Ervin at (810) 989-6276 or jervin@gannett.com.

Saipan officials on edge over food stamp funding
Welfare

Saipan officials on edge over food stamp funding

Carly Champaco/PDN Northern Marianas Rep. Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan said $22.5 million in unspent funding reported by the U.S. Department of Agriculture should be used for families in the Marianas who need nutritional assistance.
According to Sablan, $18.4 million of unspent funding is from the pilot program that went toward the 2014 Agricultural Act, when he was a member of the Agricultural Committee.
In addition, the Commonwealth government failed to spend $4.1 million from its annual block grant, according to Department of Agriculture. “I added $32.5 million to the 2014 Agricultural Act for the Marianas food stamp program—above and beyond our $12 million annual block grant,” Sablan said.
Sablan said. “In Congress, you cannot get more money when you are not spending what you already have.”
Sablan said.
Sablan said it would be difficult to explain to members of Congress about the extra money in 2014 in addition to the unspent funding from annual grants.
According to Hunter, the plan and the language of the original pilot program was poor.
Hunter, whose department oversees the CNMI Nutrition Assistance Program, said there is a systematic plan to be presented on the next meeting for the Agriculture Act that would mirror federal law.

SNAP benefits vital to low-income communities
Welfare

SNAP benefits vital to low-income communities

Sending a box of canned foods does not allow a person the choice between fresh, frozen or canned produce.
Additionally, canned foods are often high in sodium, which may also pose difficulty for people who need to follow a low-sodium diet.
SNAP-ed can help SNAP recipients make healthier decisions with these funds, make the most of each dollar and understand importance of eating a well-balanced diet.
According to their fiscal year 2016 report, over 20,000 low-income youth participants in Maryland received nutrition education through Maryland’s SNAP-ed.
Another key nutrition education program under the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Child Nutrition Program, is proposed to receive a $1.1 billion reduction in funds.
Given that research also shows food and beverage ads to be more prevalent in lower-income neighborhoods, education on healthy behaviors that start during childhood is essential.
Without these programs to educate on the importance of choosing nutrient-dense foods and healthy eating on a budget, fruits, vegetables and lean proteins are typically not at the top of the grocery list.
People often turn to the processed snacks high in sodium and added sugar.
Research shows the correlation between food insecurity and increased health care costs.
SNAP benefits and nutrition education programs, including but not limited to SNAP-ed and the Child Nutrition Program, are vital to help improve the health of low-income neighborhoods throughout America.

Food stamp crackdown feared amid Trump jobs push
Unemployment

Food stamp crackdown feared amid Trump jobs push

The Department of Agriculture (USDA) said about 3.8 million of the 42 million people who participate in SNAP are able-bodied adults without dependents.
But a state can apply to have the federal government waive the work requirement if it can show there aren’t enough jobs in the area.
Those waivers are an issue for the USDA.
Currently, states can qualify for a waiver if an area has an average 12-month unemployment rate of more than 10 percent or the state can show it does not have a sufficient number of jobs to provide employment.
Supporters of changing the waiver rules say stricter requirements will push people back into the workforce.
According to the USDA, the average monthly benefit for an able-bodied adult without dependents is $163.
Protas said some of them are working, but can’t get the required 20 hours a week at their low-wage job to continue to qualify for assistance.
Though work training would keep them in the program, Stacy Dean, vice president for food assistance policy at the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, said states are not required to offer a job or training program to every individual and don’t receive enough funds through SNAP to do so.
Rep. Alma Adams (D-N.C.) offered a bill last April to strengthen the food stamp program and exempt able-bodied adults without dependents from the work requirement if their state can’t provide them with a slot in a SNAP employment or training program.
“We don’t want to encourage people to behave improperly.” In a statement to The Hill, a USDA spokesperson said the agency’s goal is to move individuals from SNAP back to the workforce as the best long-term solution to poverty.

Salinas woman faces jail for lying to get $31k in welfare, food stamps
Welfare

Salinas woman faces jail for lying to get $31k in welfare, food stamps

A Salinas woman who fraudulently received more than $31,000 in government aid pleaded guilty to felony charges.
Licila Castillo, 34, was receiving both cash aid and food stamps between Dec. 1, 2012 and June 1, 2016 while claiming that her children’s father was absent and she needed the benefits, according to the Monterey County District Attorney’s Office.
An investigation by the DA’s office and the Monterey County Department of Social Services found that the father actually had been living in her home and had a job, prosecutors say.
The family’s income should have made Castillo ineligible for benefits.
Castillo also misrepresented her household income on her eligibility status reports to social services, according to the DA’s office.
Castillo was overpaid $31,741, prosecutors say.
Castillo is scheduled to be sentenced on April 18, and she faces three years of formal felony probation and a year in jail.
She will also be ordered to pay back the overpayment of benefits directly to the Department of Social Services.