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Gov. Kasich’s SNAP Restrictions Force More Jobless Ohioans to Lose Food Access

Dismal job climate, struggling economy leave Ohioans in need with little opportunity

4/9/2014, 11:21 a.m.

COLUMBUS- State Rep. Dan Ramos (D-Lorain) and Sen. Charleta B. Tavares (D-Columbus) today criticized Gov. Kasich’s “ill-timed and poorly targeted” SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) restrictions that forced at least 16,290 more Ohioans off of food assistance in January. Gov. Kasich’s restrictions have forced at least 26,000 jobless Ohioans off of food assistance to date.

“It is disheartening that thousands more jobless Ohioans are feeling the effects of Gov. Kasich’s ill-timed and poorly targeted restrictions on food access for the unemployed,” said Rep. Ramos. “We have people who want and need jobs, but the jobs just aren’t there. This really underscores a struggling state economy that is failing those who can least afford it. Gov. Kasich should seek the waiver until Ohio’s economy improves.”

Current SNAP rules require nondisabled, childless adults to work or participate in a qualifying job-training program for a minimum of 20 hours per week. The federal government will waive the requirement in light of Ohio’s struggling economy, and there would be no additional cost to the state of Ohio to again seek the waiver.

“We have the authority to ensure all Ohioans have one of their basic needs met—food security to enable them to be ready to learn and ready to earn,” said Senator Charleta B. Tavares. “Extending the SNAP waiver to all 88 counties is fair and compassionate. Food is not a luxury or a want. It is a need.”

Ohio has participated in the statewide waiver program because of high employment rates since 2007. Illinois, Indiana, and Michigan have requested and been granted waivers to extend SNAP benefits.

Ohio was 45th in the nation in job creation in 2013, with the state job creation rate significantly trailing national job growth over the last year. However, Gov. Kasich extended the SNAP federal work waiver to only 16 counties, disproportionately affecting Ohio’s urban areas and other rural counties around the state.