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Rule Change Could Affect Food Aid For 19K Oregonians

Erik Scheel via Pexel
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Oregon officials say a Trump Administration decision to tighten work requirements for some food stamp recipients could affect 19,000 Oregonians.

Currently, able-bodied adults without children have to work at least 20 hours a week to qualify for SNAP benefits, also known as food stamps. If they don’t, they can only get benefits for 3 months over a three-year period.

States are allowed to waive that work requirement, and many do in high unemployment areas. The administration’s new rules will make those waivers harder to get.

Currently, the Oregon Department of Human Services has approved waivers in 31 counties. Starting next spring, only 6, including Klamath and Curry Counties, will be eligible to receive those waivers.

The administration says as the economy improves, anyone physically able to work should have to in order to get food stamps. But Oregon officials say veterans, former foster youth, people without a high school diploma or GED and rural residents with limited transportation are among those who often face obstacles to getting a job. Cutting off food aid, they say, will make those people’s lives even harder.

The new rules go into effect on April 1st.

Copyright 2019 Jefferson Public Radio

Liam Moriarty
Liam Moriarty has been covering news in the Pacific Northwest for more than 25 years. He's reported on a wide range of topics – including politics, the environment, business, social issues and more – for newspapers, magazines, public radio and digital platforms. Liam was JPR News Director from 2002 to 2005, reporting and producing the Jefferson Daily regional news magazine. After covering the environment in Seattle, then reporting on European issues from France, he returned to JPR in 2013 to cover the stories and issues that are important to the people of Southern Oregon and Northern California. Liam was promoted to JPR News Director on May 1, 2019.