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NV Families Could Lose Food Assistance Under Farm Bill

About 440,000 people in Nevada rely on food assistance through SNAP. (Jason Lander/Flickr)
About 440,000 people in Nevada rely on food assistance through SNAP. (Jason Lander/Flickr)
May 16, 2018

LAS VEGAS - About one in seven Nevadans relies on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, but advocates for food security fear the Farm Bill, under consideration in Congress this week, could significantly reduce the program's accessibility.

Currently, recipients of SNAP, formerly known as food stamps, are required to have jobs, with exemptions for age or disability. But Republican backers of the Farm Bill call current work requirements "insufficient" and "vague." Proposed changes would make requirements stricter and penalties harsher for those who don't comply. For example, if you don't have a job, new rules would give you only one month to find one.

Natalie Hernandez, northern Nevada organizer for the group Battle Born Progress, said changes would put added burdens on low-income families.

"We know that all people want to have jobs," she said, "and evidence shows that people who are on SNAP who can work do work."

The bill also would raise the age limit for work to require some previously exempted people age 50 and older to find jobs.

Hernandez said proposed changes to the Farm Bill could cut off thousands in Nevada from food assistance. Nevada families receiving SNAP benefits now get an average of about $230 a month to help with groceries, and Hernandez said that's often going to people with disabilities or single mothers.

"This is for people who have fallen on hard times and need that extra assistance," she said.

The House of Representatives is expected to take action on the Farm Bill this week. If passed, it will move to the Senate.

The Farm Bill's text is online at agriculture.house.gov, and a House Agriculture Committee fact sheet is here.

Katherine Davis-Young, Public News Service - NV