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Jan 05 2018 | 

Author: Daniela | 

A common threat to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program is the addition of a work requirement. Many states are rolling out legislation that adds this additional hurdle to accessing entitlements. Alabama anti-hunger advocates are currently fighting a house bill that ABC 33/40 reports, "would require able-bodied recipients of SNAP benefits to provide proof of part-time employment or volunteer work."

"Able-bodied" is a qualifying term for individuals applying for SNAP. In California, California Association of Food Banks is putting considerable resources into defining the confusing term. Part of this will include a website, brochure, and video to provide criteria for outreach workers, social workers, doctors, and other stakeholders. The motivation behind the extensive effort is the fear that thousands of people will be cut-off from SNAP, referred to as CalFresh in the state, and lose their only access to healthy food.

Advocates in Alabama express the same concern. West Alabama Food Bank Director Jean Rykaczewski spoke with ABC 33/40 and cited mental illness and transportation as potential issues not considered in the bill's language.

"There needs to be some safe gaps in there, that address this and while 'Go volunteer 20 hours, you can keep your food stamps,' sounds like a good idea, if you don't have transportation, how do you do it?" Rykaczewski said.

With welfare reform a priority for Speaker Paul Ryan, anti-hunger advocates will keep watch on how states administer SNAP to make sure more Americans don’t go without food.

(Photo of Alabama State Capitol by Thomas A/Flickr Creative Commons)