Missouri's low-income residents could lose government food stamps

2 years 7 months 3 weeks ago Saturday, January 30 2016 Jan 30, 2016 Saturday, January 30, 2016 1:39:00 PM CST January 30, 2016 in Top Stories
By: Amber Smith, KOMU 8 News and The Associated Press

JEFFERSON CITY - New requirements that kicked in this month could leave 1 million low-income residents in 21 states, including Missouri, without government food stamps.

Starting Jan. 1, Missouri food stamp recipients have to meet work requirements in order to recieve assistance. Recipients have to work, volunteer or attend education or job-training courses at least 80 hours a month to receive aid. If they do not meet these requirements within three months, their benefits are cut off. The provision applies to able-bodied adults 18-49 who have no children or other dependents in their home.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture can waive the work rules for states and counties when unemployment is high and jobs are scarce. During The Recession, Missouri and many other states did not require employment to receive food stamp benefits. Unemployment is now down to 4.4 percent in Missouri, so the work requirements were enacted again.

The Missouri legislature overrode a veto by Gov. Jay Nixon to enact a law that would bar the state from waiving work requirements until at least 2019. 

"We were seeing a lot of people who were receiving food stamps who weren't even trying to get a job," said the law's sponsor Sen. David Sater, R- Cassville.

According to the USDA, 4.7 million food stamp recipients nationwide are deemed able-bodied adults without dependents. Only 1 in 4 has any income from a job. 

 

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