Welfare reform bill could end food stamps for 30,000 Missourians

Empower Missouri, a health and welfare public advocacy group, says changes in federal and state welfare laws are expected to cut off food stamps benefits for nearly 30,000 Missourians on April 1.

Senate Bill 24, a bill passed via veto override in Sept. 2015 and sponsored by Sen. David Sater, R-Cassville, is designed to require those seeking benefits under SNAP or those receiving Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) must engage in work activities before receiving such benefits, unless otherwise exempt from engaging in work activities. Those activities include unsubsidized employment, on-the-job training, community service, certain types of vocational or job skills training.

Empower Missouri Executive Director Jeanette Mott Oxford said the state’s poverty rate could be affected, noting that Missouri already ranks second in the nation in the number of people without enough food to eat.

Glenn Koenen, the Hunger Task Force Chair with the organization, believes that the bill creates “a new class of Missourians.” Koenen said in a statement, “We now have legislated that some of our neighbors are too poor to get help from anti-poverty programs.”

Both Mott Oxford and Koenen say the law will force more people to turn to food pantries for assistance to make up for the loss in benefits, putting strain on an already strapped service.

Read more: Missourinet, The Missouri Times

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