Food stamp changes coming

KIMT News 3 – There are some significant changes coming on October 1st, and they have to do with food assistance programs in our area.

Right now, more than 400,000 Iowans are on food stamps throughout the state, and come October 1st, 6,000 of them will be seeing a big change.

For Erin Hudson, a mother of three, she knows how important a little extra help can be, when dealing with a tight budget.

She says the food assistance program in Iowa helps keep her family fed and healthy.

“Buying fresh food is very expensive to do which we do buy a lot of fresh items but it comes with a problem then we don’t have enough money at the end of the month to buy things we necessarily need,” said Erin.

Erin is disabled and isn’t able to work because of a leg injury, her husband does have a job, and they are adjusting to a new food stamp budget with that change.

But there are bigger adjustments on the horizon for some other folks on Iowa’s food assistance program…

Starting October 1st, a waiver put in place in Iowa back in 2009 because of the recession, will no longer exist, and that means some Iowans who were receiving assistance, are on their own.

“What it allowed was able-bodied adults who otherwise would have been required to work a certain amount of time within a three-month period, it would allow them to receive food assistance without having to show that work history,” said Amy McCoy with the Iowa Department of Human Services.

That means if you don’t work, and don’t have kids, you won’t be eligible for the assistance programs.

Those with the state say it’s actually a good sign that the economy is back on track in Iowa.

“I think what we see is a positive that it shows that the recession is lessening so much that all of Iowa no longer qualifies for this waiver so I think that’s good news for the state in general,” said McCoy.

But for Erin, she’s concerned that this change will backfire, and put more stress on those who really are struggling.

“I think it’s going to be hard for the people who they can’t find work or they are trying to find work it’s just going to make it harder for the people who aren’t using the system fraudulently to get assistance,” said Erin.

McCoy says this change will not impact those with disabilities.

And in both states, starting November 1st, there will also be some major cuts in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program across the board.

So anywhere from 10-13 percent of the population in both Iowa and Minnesota will be impacted.

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