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Advocates Say Potential SNAP Change Could Cut Benefits For Ohioans

A selection of produce at the Veggie Van in Linden. The project launched this summer, bringing fresh fruit and vegetables to Columbus' food deserts.
Paige Pfleger
/
WOSU
A selection of produce at the Veggie Van in Linden. The project launched this summer, bringing fresh fruit and vegetables to Columbus' food deserts.

Advocates for low-income Ohioans say they’re concerned about yet another change proposed at the federal level for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, known as SNAP or food stamps.

This change would allow the federal government to set the standard deduction for utility payments that people can subtract from their overall incomes to qualify for SNAP. 

Lisa Hamler-Fugitt with the Ohio Association of Food Banks said states set that standard right now, and it allows them flexibility.

“Basically USDA dictates on high a one-size-fits-all. We are just seeing some really draconian provisions coming out of USDA right now," Hamler-Fugitt said.

Ohio's standard utility deduction went up just last year, and varies by size of household and income.

Hamler Fugitt says it’s too early to estimate how many would be affected, but she says this would hit seniors, people with disabilities, and rural residents hardest.

A recent proposal still being considered would cut states’ ability to automatically enroll people in SNAP if they’re receiving other benefits. The comment period just closed on that rule, and Hamler-Fugitt said there were around 80,000 comments offered.

Hamler-Fugitt said a new analysis shows that as many as 61,000 Ohioans could lose SNAP benefits if the rule is changed.