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SNAP Payments are changing: These are the beneficiaries for whom aid will change starting in October

SNAP payment changes coming in October will impact beneficiaries receiving benefits via debit cards, affecting over 40 million recipients, with new fees and restrictions on food purchases.

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The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), previously known as food stamps, is set to undergo significant changes starting in October. These changes will affect millions of beneficiaries across the United States, with some at risk of losing their benefits. Here’s a detailed look at who is most at risk and what these changes entail.

Overview of SNAP

SNAP is a federal program that provides nutritional assistance to low-income individuals and families. Administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), SNAP helps millions of Americans afford food each month. Benefits are distributed via an Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card, which can be used to purchase eligible food items at authorized retailers.

Key changes to SNAP payments

Starting in October, several key changes will be implemented in the SNAP program. These changes are part of a broader effort to update the program’s eligibility criteria and benefit levels to better reflect current economic conditions.

One of the most significant changes is the adjustment of the age range for work requirements. Previously, able-bodied adults without dependents (ABAWDs) aged 18 to 49 were subject to a time limit on receiving benefits unless they met certain work requirements. This age range will now be expanded to include individuals up to 54 years old. This means that more people will need to meet work requirements to continue receiving benefits.

Who’s at risk of losing SNAP benefits?

The changes to SNAP will impact various groups differently. Here’s a breakdown of who is most at risk of losing their benefits:

  • Able-Bodied Adults Without Dependents (ABAWDs): ABAWDs are among the most affected by the upcoming changes. These individuals, who do not have children or other dependents, must meet specific work requirements to continue receiving SNAP benefits. The work requirements include working at least 20 hours per week, participating in a work program, or a combination of both. With the age range for these requirements expanding to 54, more ABAWDs will need to comply with these rules or risk losing their benefits.
  • Older adults: Older adults, particularly those between the ages of 50 and 54, are now included in the work requirement age range. Many in this age group may find it challenging to meet the work requirements due to health issues, limited job opportunities, or other barriers. As a result, they are at a higher risk of losing their SNAP benefits if they cannot comply with the new rules.
  • Unemployed and underemployed individuals: Individuals who are unemployed or underemployed may also be at risk. The work requirements necessitate that beneficiaries work a minimum number of hours per week. Those who cannot find sufficient employment or who work in unstable or low-paying jobs may struggle to meet these requirements, putting their benefits in jeopardy.
  • Rural residents: Rural residents often face unique challenges, such as limited access to job opportunities and transportation. These factors can make it difficult for them to meet the work requirements, increasing their risk of losing SNAP benefits. Additionally, rural areas may have fewer resources and support services to help individuals comply with the new rules.

How to maintain SNAP benefits

For those at risk of losing their benefits, it is crucial to understand the new requirements and take steps to comply. Here are some tips to help maintain SNAP benefits:

  • Stay informed: Keep up to date with the latest information from your local SNAP office. Understanding the new rules and how they apply to you is essential.
  • Seek employment or training: If you are an ABAWD, look for job opportunities or participate in a work or training program. Many states offer SNAP Employment and Training (E&T) programs to help beneficiaries meet the requirements.
  • Report changes promptly: Ensure that any changes in your employment status, income, or household composition are reported to your local SNAP office promptly. This can help avoid disruptions in your benefits.
  • Utilize support services: Take advantage of support services available in your community, such as job placement programs, transportation assistance, and other resources that can help you meet the work requirements.

The upcoming changes to SNAP payments represent a significant shift in the program’s eligibility criteria. While these changes aim to better align the program with current economic conditions, they also put certain groups at risk of losing their benefits. By staying informed and taking proactive steps to comply with the new requirements, beneficiaries can better navigate these changes and continue to receive the support they need.

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