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Stimulus Payments Should Not Affect Eligibility For Public Assistance Benefits


The federal COVID-19 stimulus payments arriving later this month will not affect eligibility for social safety net programs like Medicaid or food stamps.

To qualify for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, commonly called “food stamps,” your gross monthly income has to be below a certain level, depending on the size of your household. For example, according to a chart published by the US Department of Agriculture, the cut-off line for a family of four is $2,790.

But that same household is in line to receive a $3,400 stimulus payment later this month. Normally, that income would be more than enough to disqualify that family for food stamps, at least temporarily. The Oregon Department of Human Services says it’s waiting for guidance from the federal government as to whether stimulus payments will affect food stamp eligibility.

But a spokesperson for US Senator Ron Wyden said in an email that the payments would not be considered income for the purpose of determining eligibility.

Separately, the Oregon Health Authority says the coronavirus stimulus will not impact eligibility for the Oregon Health Plan.

Chris Lehman has been reporting on Oregon issues since 2006. He joined the KLCC news department in December, 2018. Chris was born and raised in Pennsylvania, and graduated from Temple University with a degree in journalism. His public broadcasting career includes stops in Louisiana and Illinois. Chris has filed for national programs including “Morning Edition” and “All Things Considered.”
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