TWO laws in different states target the SNAP benefits of thousands of recipients.
In Kentucky and Kansas, lawmakers want to enact stricter rules for people who are part of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) or earlier food brands.
More than 41.5 million Americans rely on federal assistance to provide money each month to buy healthy groceries from authorized retailers.
The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) oversees SNAP, but it is up to the individual states to administer the program for their residents.
Once an individual has been approved to receive benefits, they must go through a recertification process in order to renew the benefits.
Just like first-time applicants, anyone who renews must go through another interview.
SNAP benefits may need to be renewed every year or more often, depending on the state.
In Kentucky and Kansas, lawmakers want to tighten the rules for SNAP eligibility.
The bills are piped to their respective governors’ desks for signature, but not without debate from both sides of the aisle.
If approved and opted out, certain SNAP applicants may lose their benefits, while new applicants may find it more difficult to qualify.
Both chambers of the Kansas Statehouse approved a bill that includes a measure with updated requirements for people to receive federal food assistance.
It requires what they termed “physical” adults without dependents to work 30 hours a week or enroll in a vocational training program.
The 30-hour minimum is greater than the state eligibility requirement of working at least 20 hours per week to receive SNAP benefits for more than three months in any 36-month period.
Supporters of the bill believe it will motivate people to enter the labor market.
Opponents argue that it would cost the state more because it would mean hiring more state employees to track whether SNAP recipients meet job requirements or the training mandate.
Current state requirements only state that you must work to be eligible for benefits. No weekly hourly minimum is specified.
The legislation passed the Senate by a vote of 28 to 11 and passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 70 to 46.
It now goes to Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly for her approval.
In Kentucky, similar legislation mandating working hours has been revised – which would help keep thousands in Kentucky from losing their support.
The original law was intended to push people back into the workforce and crack down on SNAP fraud.
The amendment to the bill does not provide for mandatory work hours, but allows for the waiver of required work when unemployment is high or there are not enough jobs in the county where the recipient lives.
The bill now goes to Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear for signature.
Who is eligible for SNAP?
To be eligible for the SNAP benefits program, applicants must reside in the state where they are applying and meet certain bank balance limits and work requirements.
A household with someone over 60 or a disabled household member may have a higher bank balance limit.
The total amount of SNAP benefits your household receives each month is called an allocation.
The USDA said the maximum monthly allotment is based on household size.
For example, the maximum allotment for a family of four is $835.
The Sun explains when you need to recertify to continue receiving SNAP benefits.
Plus. How the Social Security COLA increase will affect your SNAP benefits.
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https://www.the-sun.com/money/5027767/snap-rule-changes-more-difficult-food-stamps/ Major SNAP rule changes mean claimants could lose the benefits of food stamps