Major Changes Coming to SNAP Food Program

By Benjamin Cox on December 5, 2019 at 5:52am

The nearly 6000 SNAP Food recipients in Morgan County could be slashed in half according to new eligibility rules The Trump administration is about to impose for the program. The new rules apply to a category of SNAP recipients ages 18 to 59 known as “able-bodied adults without dependents.” Currently, who meets the program’s income eligibility limits are limited to three months of benefits during any 36-month period unless they work at least 20 hours a week or are enrolled in a job training program. Those conditions were part of a 1996 welfare reform law passed during the Clinton administration. The law also allows states to waive the work requirements if the applicant lives in an area marked by high unemployment or where there is a lack of sufficient jobs.

The new rules, which will take effect in April, will tighten the regulations governing those waivers by limiting them to counties with unemployment rates above 6 percent. In most of the surrounding counties of the WLDS listening area, the unemployment rate sits at or around the national average of 4.2% currently. It is one of several changes announced yesterday by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. USDA estimates the rule change will make about 668,000 people nationwide ineligible for SNAP, resulting in an estimated $5.5 billion savings over five years. The Illinois Department of Public Health says that of that number about 140,000 people in the state will be effected by the changes. IDPH says it is working to exempt those with extenuating medical issues who cannot find work who fall under the USDA’s category of able-bodied individuals and also doubling efforts to find work for those who are in training or trying to seek employment.