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Advocates Say Another Potential Change Could Cut Ohioans SNAP Benefits

ODJFS
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Advocates for low-income Ohioans say they’re concerned about yet another change proposed at the federal level for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, known as SNAP or food stamps.

This change would allow the federal government to set the standard deduction for utility payments that people can subtract from their overall incomes to qualify for SNAP. 

Lisa Hamler-Fugitt with the Ohio Association of Food Banks said states set that standard right now, and it allows them flexilibity.

“Basically USDA dictates on high a one-size-fits-all. We are just seeing some really draconian provisions coming out of USDA right now," Hamler-Fugitt said.

Ohio's standard utility deduction went up just last year, and varies by size of household and income.

Hamler Fugitt says it’s too early to estimate how many would be affected, but she says this would hit seniors, people with disabilities, and rural residents hardest.

A recent proposal still being considered would cut states’ ability to automatically enroll people in SNAP if they’re receiving other benefits. The comment period just closed on that rule, and Hamler-Fugitt said there were around 80,000 comments offered on it. Hamler-Fugitt said a new analysis shows that as many as 61,000 Ohioans could lose SNAP benefits if the rule is changed.

Copyright 2020 The Statehouse News Bureau. To see more, visit The Statehouse News Bureau.

Karen is a lifelong Ohioan who has served as news director at WCBE-FM, assignment editor/overnight anchor at WBNS-TV, and afternoon drive anchor/assignment editor in WTAM-AM in Cleveland. In addition to her daily reporting for Ohio’s public radio stations, she’s reported for NPR, the BBC, ABC Radio News and other news outlets. She hosts and produces the Statehouse News Bureau’s weekly TV show “The State of Ohio”, which airs on PBS stations statewide. She’s also a frequent guest on WOSU TV’s “Columbus on the Record”, a regular panelist on “The Sound of Ideas” on ideastream in Cleveland, appeared on the inaugural edition of “Face the State” on WBNS-TV and occasionally reports for “PBS Newshour”. She’s often called to moderate debates, including the Columbus Metropolitan Club’s Issue 3/legal marijuana debate and its pre-primary mayoral debate, and the City Club of Cleveland’s US Senate debate in 2012.
Karen Kasler
Contact Karen at 614/578-6375 or at kkasler@statehousenews.org.