On Tuesday, food bank operators, the counties’ Ohio Department of Job and Family Services association director, anti-poverty advocates and others urged lawmakers against cutting the social safety net during a still-raging pandemic that has destabilized the economy and increased unemployment rates. They said more paperwork requirements on top of an already cumbersome application process would cause needy families to slip through the cracks.
Fewer people will get food, Medicaid, unemployment under Ohio bill requiring more fraud checks, advocates say
Some of the most sweeping changes in SB 17 would be in SNAP, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. SB 17 would require color photo identification of at least one adult in every household on Ohio Direction cards, the debit SNAP card. SNAP recipients would also be subject to more rigorous asset maximums. To continue to be eligible for SNAP, households would have to report changes in income within 10 days of learning of the changes, which is not currently required. Other changes in SB 17 would again force Ohio Medicaid to require many recipients of the joint state and federal health care program to work or go to school part-time.
The long, hard Ohio winter won't do any favors for residents already struggling to make ends meet, according to those on the front lines of a battle for COVID-19 financial aid. The Ohio Association of Foodbanks, the Coalition on Homelessness and Housing in Ohio and the Children's Defense Fund of Ohio are begging Congress to pass a relief package in the next few weeks.
Organizers say food banks are completely overwhelmed, providing food to as many Ohioans as they can. The need is growing, but additional help from the federal government is still in limbo. The U.S. Census Bureau estimates more than 300,000 Ohio households are behind on rent, and nearly 200,000 are concerned they’ll be evicted in the next two months.
Ohio foodbanks have seen unprecedented demand during the coronavirus pandemic — demand they say they couldn’t have met without the help of the Ohio National Guard. Now, as the pandemic enters its most dangerous phase that help is about to dry up and the foodbanks are calling on the Trump administration to do something.
In addition to boosting SNAP benefits to offset record high grocery prices, we need more food purchases by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to ensure that we are doing what we can to fight hunger. Congress and the USDA must ensure food banks do not witness a dramatic decline in the food needed to support the millions of people we serve.