“We are very thankful that Gov. Nixon has ordered the Department of Social Services to pull back the proposed rule change,” said MASW executive director Jeanette Mott Oxford. “We invite those who want to send a thank you message to the governor to visit our Hunger Task Force webpage at: http://www.masw.org/programs/hunger.php.”
The rule change that had been under consideration would have limited the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, commonly known as food stamps) for some jobless Missourians in more than 100 Missouri counties. Missouri would be one of only six states to reject available federal benefits which currently bring millions of dollars to Missouri grocers and their surrounding communities, while also alleviating hunger.
For the past 12 years, with both Democratic and Republican governors, Missouri has consistently sought to protect jobless Missourians from hunger, applying for the broadest exemption possible from application of the very harsh food stamp time limit provisions in the 1996 welfare reform law. That law limited food stamps for able-bodied adults without dependents to three months out of every three years, unless in an approved work activity for 20 hours per week, but put no money into job training. Most states have applied for relief from application of the law since its implementation for areas with high unemployment, and “statewide waivers” have been allowed and are common since 2007 as the recession has hampered job stability and expansion.
The Missouri State Hunger Atlas (2013) shows that Missouri has not yet recovered from recession, as food insufficiency surged to 16.7%, surpassing the national average of 14%. Currently, 1.3 million Missourians do not have enough to eat, causing Missouri to rank in the Top 10 of Food Insecure States.
“Now we need to convince Congress to pass a Farm Bill with no SNAP cuts,” said MASW Hunger Task Force Chair Glenn Koenen.