Impact of possible SNAP changes

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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — A proposal from President Trump would cut the number of people using SNAP benefits across the country. SNAP, or the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, is also known as Food Stamps.

In many states if you qualify for another program called TANF, or Temporary Assistance to Needy Families, you automatically qualify for SNAP. That could be changing. We find out how changes to SNAP impact local non-profits.

During the government shutdown earlier this year, Feeding South Dakota got a crash course in preparing for emergencies.

“It challenged us to think differently. To plan differently. And always think of worst case scenario. Where are we going to get the extra product? How much extra product are we going to get? And what we found is there was a lot more food in the network than what we initially thought there was,” said Stensaas.

Now, agencies across the country are preparing for another possible surge in need.

President Trump is proposing some changes to the SNAP program. If it passes, people who qualified for SNAP because they already had TANF will no longer get that automatic approval. Instead, they’ll have to apply for both separately.

Some experts in support of the change say this eliminates a “loophole” people are taking advantage of.

Opponents believe this will hurt people in need, since 3.1 million people are receiving food assistance thanks to this link between programs.

“The notion that some will have to re-qualify under different income guidelines is probably a scary time for all of them,” said Stensaas.

According to the USDA, 43 states allow the pre-qualification between TANF and SNAP.

I talked to a representative with the Department of Social Services in Sioux Falls on the phone, who said the proposed change would not impact anyone in South Dakota.

For Feeding South Dakota, they’re still dealing with the aftermath of people losing benefits and pay during the shutdown. However, with the help of community support, they are now prepared for any future changes.

“With the government shutdown, we saw a 7-percent increase in the numbers of those we were serving, over the previous month. So we know that those increases will continue to rise. We are still serving record numbers of people,” said Stensaas.

Feeding South Dakota is in need of donations right now!

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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