Important SNAP Update
You may have seen the recent news, as reported by The Associated Press, that more than 1 million low-income residents in 21 states could soon lose their government food stamps if they fail to meet work requirements that began kicking in this month. Among the states affected by these changes is Pennsylvania.
Hunger-Free Pennsylvania has been working with members of the Pennsylvania Food Security Coalition to ensure residents know what they need to do. Our goal is to ensure every qualified resident who is eligible for food assistance has access to these services so they can obtain healthy meals for themselves and their families.
In about half of Pennsylvania’s counties, certain people will only be able to get three months’ worth of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits in three years, starting in 2016. SNAP is the official name for the food stamp program. (Click HERE for the list of those counties under a waiver to find out whether you live in an area that qualifies.)
If you are not exempt, and you live in a county where the time limit applies, then you must work or volunteer for a certain number of hours per month to keep your SNAP benefits. HFPA and the Pennsylvania Food Security Coalition have been working with the state Department of Human Services since mid-2015 to ensure as many Pennsylvanian’s as possible are not affected.
If you receive SNAP benefits, this is what you need to know:
Work for at least 80 hours per month. If you are not scheduled for 80 hours a month, you can do volunteer work for the remaining hours.
Be in an approved job training program at least 80 hours a month.
Volunteer with a nonprofit or government agency for the number of hours of your SNAP grant divided by the minimum wage.
Keep in mind that the work-for-food requirements are not new; they were first enacted under the 1996 welfare reform law. The rule today has been triggered by falling unemployment rates.
For more information about SNAP benefits in Pennsylvania, visit DHS’s website by clicking HERE.