Changes made to rules for obtaining Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits could impact up to 700,000 vulnerable Americans, experts and advocates estimate. The new tightened rules will largely affect the states who are currently using a waiver for the program’s time limits, but the policy could eventually affect other states as well. People who will be impacted by this change are those actively searching for work and those working but not getting enough hours.
A study conducted in March 2019 discovered that in 2017, 1.2 million adults participating in SNAP at the time were working less than an average of 20 hours a week or more. Without a waiver, they would have lost their benefits, leaving them vulnerable to food insecurity. This change is projected to affect 90,000 Pennsylvanians, and therefore, some clients of the Squirrel Hill Food Pantry will certainly be affected. The majority of people using our Pantry services receive SNAP benefits.
Pantry clients with physical or mental limitations that have not been officially recognized as temporary or permanent disabilities could be particularly vulnerable. Additionally, involuntary part-time workers who have had their hours cut unexpectedly and cannot immediately find additional work will also likely be impacted by these changes, as will people who are just getting by and relying on SNAP to remain food secure.
“The JFCS Squirrel Hill Food Pantry is committed to serving our clients with not only food but additional social services to ensure clients have access to every resource available to them,” said Matthew Bolton, director of the JFCS Squirrel Hill Food Pantry. He continued, “We cannot do this without the support of you, the community.”
To find out more about the rule change, see this statement from the USDA: