Oregon says 19,000 could lose benefits under new SNAP rule

The Oregon Department of Human Services says that the new rule limits the areas that are eligible for work requirement waivers.

Posted: Dec 6, 2019 5:17 PM

SALEM, Ore. — The Oregon Department of Human Services says that more than 19,000 Oregonians could lose their government food assistance under a new Trump administration rule that was finalized on Thursday.

The rule essentially tightens work requirements for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits. While SNAP generally requires that adults receive benefits for no more than three months in a three-year period if they are not working or training at least 20 hours per week, states were previously allowed greater freedom to waive those requirements.

"Oregon, like most states, has used waivers to extend benefits for longer than three months to a group of SNAP recipients known as 'able-bodied adults without dependents' (ABAWD) if they live in areas with high unemployment and limited job opportunities," DHS said in a statement. "This group includes individuals ages 18 through 49 who don't have disabilities, don't have children or other dependents and are considered able to work."


RELATED: Oregon nonprofits warn about proposed food stamp change


Oregon had approved waivers for 31 counties in the state. Once those waivers expire on March 31, 2020, the new requirements will ensure that only six counties are eligible for a waiver. Under the rule change, counties must have an unemployment rate at least 20 percent higher than the national rate — no less than six percent unemployment, DHS says.

"The proposed rule would encourage broader application of the statutory ABAWD work requirement, consistent with the Administration's focus on fostering self-sufficiency," the Trump administration's proposal reads.

According to DHS, unemployment rates for those without a high school diploma or GED are often more than double the average rate.

"Other groups that face additional obstacles when seeking steady employment include agricultural workers, veterans, former foster youth, formerly incarcerated people and rural residents with limited transportation," the agency said.


RELATED: How would proposed food stamp changes impact our region?


While DHS did not name the six Oregon counties that would remain eligible for work requirement waivers under the new rule, Employment Department statistics from September 2019 list Grant County as the highest in the state, at 7.1 percent. Klamath County had a 6.7 percent unemployment rate, and Wallow County had a 6.6 percent rate. Lake County landed precisely at the threshold of 6 percent.

During the public comment period for the proposed rule, DHS says that there were more than 140,000 comments opposing the change. The change is expected to affect eligibility for roughly 700,000 SNAP recipients in the U.S.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

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Confirmed Cases: 3949

Reported Deaths: 148
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Marion90925
Washington69517
Clackamas29410
Deschutes1200
Linn1159
Umatilla1123
Polk9610
Lane672
Yamhill657
Jackson600
Benton555
Clatsop450
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Josephine261
Douglas250
Jefferson240
Wasco181
Columbia160
Hood River120
Morrow120
Lincoln90
Tillamook60
Curry60
Union60
Crook50
Wallowa20
Sherman10
Grant10
Harney10
Baker10
Unassigned00

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Confirmed Cases: 96400

Reported Deaths: 3769
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Riverside7004292
San Diego6701249
Orange5469133
San Bernardino4365176
Alameda287493
Santa Clara2652139
San Francisco238640
Kern187129
San Mateo183376
Tulare164175
Santa Barbara155112
Fresno148222
Contra Costa133637
Sacramento130256
Imperial127423
Ventura91230
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Kings6472
Stanislaus64628
Sonoma5004
Solano45520
Monterey4138
Marin40314
Merced2616
San Luis Obispo2591
Santa Cruz2002
Yolo19422
Placer1859
Napa1013
Humboldt932
Madera842
El Dorado780
San Benito722
Nevada411
Sutter402
Del Norte370
Shasta364
Butte340
Mono341
Yuba281
Mendocino210
Inyo191
Mariposa151
Calaveras130
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Glenn120
Amador100
Siskiyou61
Colusa50
Lassen40
Plumas40
Tuolumne30
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