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."


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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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Cases: 155597

Reported Deaths: 2208
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah31877528
Washington21211212
Marion18468285
Clackamas13380175
Lane10258126
Jackson8395112
Umatilla765982
Deschutes595259
Yamhill378364
Linn359056
Malheur335158
Polk306442
Klamath279155
Douglas247454
Benton234416
Josephine234050
Jefferson195828
Coos149119
Union128419
Columbia126521
Wasco122126
Lincoln113220
Hood River106929
Morrow104914
Clatsop7756
Crook77518
Baker6567
Curry4296
Tillamook4142
Lake3766
Harney2736
Grant2231
Wallowa1424
Gilliam531
Sherman530
Wheeler221
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Cases: 3566914

Reported Deaths: 52158
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Los Angeles119192321435
Riverside2894503767
San Bernardino2866072874
Orange2612203917
San Diego2600913284
Santa Clara1106211777
Kern102627827
Fresno953931443
Sacramento932811472
Alameda806681242
Ventura77623844
San Joaquin665691101
Contra Costa62248681
Stanislaus56132946
Tulare47784758
Monterey42138328
San Mateo38998515
San Francisco34260412
Santa Barbara31805411
Solano30024164
Merced28915397
Sonoma28141298
Imperial26903591
Kings21955218
Placer19763232
San Luis Obispo19612227
Madera15467209
Santa Cruz14588183
Marin13136197
Yolo12834185
Shasta10985174
Butte10962160
El Dorado9095100
Napa903869
Sutter884597
San Benito576759
Yuba573337
Lassen560119
Tehama508152
Nevada396074
Tuolumne394659
Mendocino379643
Amador346341
Humboldt318033
Lake315641
Glenn222523
Colusa212813
Calaveras190547
Siskiyou174014
Inyo128737
Mono12114
Del Norte9875
Plumas6536
Modoc4524
Mariposa3957
Trinity3675
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