food stamps

Changes in food stamp requirements are causing some area food banks to prepare for an increased demand.

Up to 9,000 people in eight Kentucky counties could be impacted by the changes the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, that went into effect May 1.

Glenn Roberts is executive director of Tri-State Food Bank in Evansville. It serves parts of Indiana, Kentucky, and Illinois. In Kentucky, it serves Henderson and Daviess counties.

Roberts says one Kentucky program is well-positioned to help stock food banks with healthy produce. It’s called Farms to Food Banks. 

“It’s a program that’s funded by the Kentucky state government in which farmers are compensated, they’re paid for what’s called their number two produce,” says Roberts. “This is the produce that doesn’t make it to the grocery store shelves.”

Roberts says the change in the food stamp requirements comes at a time when the growing and harvesting season could encourage more farmers to stretch the value of their produce.

Flickr/Creative Commons/Ashley

Some food pantries in Kentucky are preparing to serve more residents following changes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, that are now in effect.

Nine-thousand people in eight Kentucky counties could lose their food stamps if they haven’t qualified for new federal work or job training requirements.

Charity Parrish is a spokeswoman for Community Action of Southern Kentucky. She says her agency can be a buffer for residents transitioning to meet the new rules.

“First of all we would take their information, income information, and see if they qualified for help with food at our agency,” says Parrish. “We have food pantries in several of our community services offices. They can come in and get a box of food and it’s whatever we have available at that time.”

The new rules that went into effect May 1 affect able-bodied adults ages 18 to 49 who don’t have dependents. They have to be in paid or volunteer work, or job training for at least 20 hours a week. 

Flickr/Creative Commons/ U.S. Dept. of Agriculture

Thousands of Kentucky residents have two months to look for work or job training to keep their food stamp benefits.  Anya Weber of the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services says food stamp recipients have until April 1 to comply with the new requirements.  

"Able-bodied adults without dependents will need to meet a 20-hour work or training requirement," says Weber. "This is going to affect approximately 17,500 able-bodied adults in eight counties."

Those counties are Bullitt, Daviess, Fayette, Hardin, Henderson, Jefferson, McCracken and Warren.

New federal rules impacting the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, went into effect Jan. 1.  Recipients affected by the changes were given a three-month grace period to find work or job training.

Weber said the changes will affect nearly 900 people in Warren County, more than 700 people in Hardin County and more than 600 people in Daviess County.

One in five Kentuckians and Tennesseans currently receives food stamps through a federal assistance program. Nationally, the number of food stamp recipients has increased 70% since 2008.

Twenty-percent of Kentucky residents receive help through the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program—or SNAP--which provides food stamp benefits for the needy. In Tennessee, 21% of residents are on the program, along with 14% of Indiana residents.

Analysts agree that the biggest reason for the increasing numbers on assistance is the poor job market and national increase in poverty.

But a report in The Wall Street Journal also points out that states are able to ease income tests for would-be participants, allowing those with relatively higher incomes and savings to take part in the program. As of December of 2012, a record 47.8 million Americans received benefits through SNAP.