The U.S. House Agriculture Committee has begun debate on the 2018 Farm Bill.
The bill imposes a strict work requirement for those receiving food stamps through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP. Currently, recipients ages 18 to 49 without dependents are subject to work requirements. The legislation would expand the age to 59, and include parents with children over the age of six. And those who fall short of the 20-hour-per-week work requirement could lose benefits after one month. Lisa Hamler-Fugitt of the Ohio Association of Foodbanks says the provision will increase food insecurity in the state.
Hamler-Fugitt says the majority of food stamp recipients are already employed, but often in low-paying, part-time positions, with inflexible hours that make it difficult to meet work requirements. She says 375 thousand Ohioans lost assistance after the state rejected a work-requirement wavier four years ago.
1.5 million Ohioans receive on average 120 dollars a month worth of food stamps. Supporters of the standards say they will incentivize work and lift people out of poverty, while continuing support for those in need.