Changes ahead for SNAP?

Published 12:50 am Friday, June 29, 2018

House bill adds work requirement

On June 21, the U.S. House passed the Agriculture Committee’s farm bill, which includes proposed changes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistant Program, SNAP, commonly known as food stamps. Officials are not sure what those changes will be.

“We really don’t know what exactly will happen,” Alabama Department of Human Resources publicist Barry Spear said. “If it passes through the Senate and becomes an official law then we will know a little more.”

The bill contains changes that would cause more than one million low-income households with more than two million people to lose their benefits or have them reduced.

The plan includes new work requirements that would require SNAP participants ages 18 through 59 who are not disabled or raising a child under six to prove every month that they’re working at least 20 hours a week, participating at least 20 hours a week in a work program or a combination of the two.

“Right now, the work requirements are only applied to people aged 18 to 49 that are able bodied and don’t have dependents,” Spear said. “We are currently working hard to provide assistance to clients trying to find jobs, and we will continue to do that no matter the circumstance.”

Spear said that one of the main problems is that the more work a client does the more money they bring in and it might cause them to lose their benefits.

“The main goal of SNAP is to provide assistance,” Spear said. “But some people might be turned off to the idea of working if they will make too much money to qualify, but it all depends on the size of their household.”

The current maximum household incomes for those receiving assistance are:

  • For household of one, $14,079.
  • For a household of two, $18,941.
  • For a household of three, $23,803.
  • For a household of four, $28,666.
  • For a household of five, $33,527.
  • For a household of six, $38,389.
  • For a household of seven, $43,251.
  • For a household of eight, $48,113, and an additional $4,862 per person for larger households.

“I honestly don’t know what the effect will be yet,” Spear said. “But I do know that we are not an all or nothing program. We will always provide an assistance.”