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20,000 Ohioans Set To Lose SNAP Benefits Under Trump Administration Rule Change

20,000 childless adults who are considered able-bodied and receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) in 29 Ohio counties will soon be getting letters telling them their benefits are being cut off if they don’t find work quickly.

42 mostly urban and Appalachian counties with high unemployment rates have used waivers to exempt non-disabled people from having to work at least 20 hours a week to get SNAP, commonly known as food stamps.

But a new Trump administration rule going into effect in April raises the jobless rate threshold, taking away the waiver from all but 13 counties.

“The truth is, for the first time in Ohio history, more people are on public assistance and working than not working," said Joel Potts, executive director of the group that represents the directors of Ohio’s 88 county job and family services offices. "So I think those who can work are working. I think what we need to do is have a system that helps those who can't work to work.”

Advocates say many of those people are mentally ill or have substance abuse issues, have low education levels, and may not have reliable transportation or steady residences.

“Thereisamassivelaborsurplusintheseareas,meaningtherearemorejobseekersforjobs," said Lisa Hamler-Fugitt, who heads up the Ohio Association of Foodbanks."Sowe'llstarttoseehungerandfoodinsecurityincrease, demandontheemergencyfoodassistanceincrease, andthepainandsufferingisgoingtoincrease.”

The average SNAP benefit in Ohio is around $125 a month. The rule change is predicted to save nearly $5.5 billion over five years.

For more on this issue, check out the conversation with Potts and Hamler-Fugitt on "The State of Ohio" this week.

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.