SNAP benefit cuts shouldn’t impact Mahoning County too much, local official says

Local News

In Mahoning County, roughly 41,000 people receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – A new Trump administration rule is trying to scale back the federal food stamp program but a program administrator in Mahoning County said this won’t have a major impact on local residents.

Right now, single adults with no dependents who are part of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, also known as SNAP, must be employed to receive benefits.

“They’re required to do a work activity if they’re not employed,” said Melissa Wasko, program administrator at Mahoning County Job and Family Services. “So they do a certain amount of hours each month that we assign them to called the Work Experience Program.”

Currently, work-eligible able-bodied adults between the ages of 18 and 49 without dependents can currently receive only three months of SNAP benefits in a three-year period if they don’t meet the 20-hour work requirement.

Under the new Trump administration rule, states can only allow recipients to receive food assistance without working for this three-month period if a city or county has an unemployment rate of 6% or higher.

MORE: Youngstown and Warren reportedly hold highest unemployment rates in Ohio

Wasko said in Mahoning County, roughly 41,000 people receive SNAP benefits. Of those, 900 fall into this category and most of them already work.

She said the effect on our area will be minimal and those who receive benefits shouldn’t worry.

“It’s going to be more paperwork on our end, as employees of the county. Less impact on the community. No one will be not getting their benefits if they cooperate and they do their work activity,” she said.

Wasko also said a person shouldn’t assume they won’t qualify for benefits just because they work or make a certain amount of money.

She said the program also takes into account a person’s expenses, along with their income.

Before assuming you won’t qualify, try applying. You can find out that same day if you qualify.

Those who want to see if they qualify for benefits can call 1-844-640-6446 or go to the agency’s website.

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