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Oregon-Northwest

1,000s in Oregon to lose SNAP benefits under new work rules

SNAP benefits USDA
USDA/Flickr
About 688,000 people are expected to be affected by new rules for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

Food banks, others express dismay; court challenge possible

By Eric Tegethoff, Oregon News Service

PORTLAND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- The Trump administration's new rule tightening work restrictions for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program is drawing strong criticism from hunger-fighting groups in Oregon and elsewhere.

The finalized U.S. Department of Agriculture rule undoes the ability of states to issue waivers on the three-month limit for SNAP benefits to people who aren't either working or in a training program for 20 hours a week.

An estimated 688,000 people are expected to lose assistance because of the change.

Oregon Food Bank CEO Susannah Morgan says she's horrified, noting SNAP serves 12 times more people than the state's food bank network.

"As someone who was raised in the Quaker tradition, I find it extra appalling that this is happening in the holiday season, that we are taking food off the tables of our neighbors at the time when we are supposed to be at our very best selves and taking the very best care of our communities," she states.

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue points to the country's low unemployment rate and the goal of moving people toward self-sufficiency as the reasons for the rule change.

The Agriculture Department estimates the change will save the government $5.5 billion over five years. It's scheduled to go into place on Apr. 1, 2020.

The new rule affects able-bodied people ages 18 to 49 without dependents.

Morgan says about 24,000 Oregonians will be impacted and the rule will result in $18 million in lost revenue to places such as grocery retailers and agricultural producers, largely in rural areas.

"So of course, we are most interested and most centering those 24,000 people who may be affected, but do also want to mention that this is a larger benefit to the rural economies as a whole that will also go away," she states.

Morgan says the rule could be challenged in the courts. It's one of three rule changes the Trump administration has proposed to SNAP.

According to a study from the Urban Institute this week, those rules taken together would drop 3.7 million people from the program nationwide.

News

KTVZ News Team

Comments

9 Comments

    1. Youre jealous of welfare recipients? Thats just kinda sad, you can do better, we all can

      It will be harder however with the kgb republicans removing so much money from our economy, its crazy to think they used to be pro-economic growth many years ago before bigotry became their main campaign platform

  1. It’s about time something was done. There are far to many people that use this
    as a way of life. Why work if someone will basically give you money ?
    This program was a good concept when it first started, just like welfare, for people
    who are having a rough time. It was meant to be temporary help, not a lifestyle choice,
    so lazy people could sit on their butts watching t.v, doing drugs, and waiting for the
    checks to show up.
    There are definitely people that truly need this assistance, but everyone else should be
    required to work. They can’t use the excuse of there not being jobs available because
    that’s a bunch of crap. There are countless help wanted signs on businesses.
    Granted a lot of the jobs pay minimum wage or a little better, but if you can’t survive
    on what you make at one job, get another part time job. People have been working two job
    for many years when their income is low. Nobody wants to have to work two jobs, or over
    40 hours a week, but sometimes that is what it takes to survive and be self sufficient…

  2. I used to cashier at a higher end grocery store. The abuse of snap is staggering. Young, able bodied people who just got done with a hike. Always wearing a nice Patagonia jacket and other expensive merchandise. I had one customer tell me how she just gots rims on her 50,000 dollar truck. Then used food stamps to buy her ingredients for kimchi. Had another customer who bought 70$ worth of items to make kombucha, also using snap. I can’t tell you how many times I watched someone open their wallet to grab their card. California license with Oregon snap and Oregon health Plan, while driving a brand new Subaru.

    Some people truly need snap. I hope those people never lose their benefits. I never qualified for snap. I took home 9$ an hour after taxes. I put most of my groceries on credit cards. It was hard to watch so many people who have contributed very little to Oregon reap so many benefits.

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