EUGENE, Ore. – Thousands of low-income individuals, who use the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), may lose their benefits beginning Friday.
According to state officials, those who are “able-bodied adults without dependents” on SNAP, formerly known as food stamps, will be affected. They said the state of Oregon is now seeing these changes because of a decrease in the state’s unemployment rate.
On April 1st, the changes will impact 6,500 people in Multnomah and Washington County.
While the cuts have not yet taken effect in Lane County, local officials expect the cuts to hit the county anytime between April 1 and the end of the year.
State agencies said the goal of these changes are to get those who are able bodied back into the workforce.
But, some believe these cuts may make getting a job even tougher for recipients.
“If they don’t have access to healthy fruits, vegetables and three square meals a day that not only affects their immediate health, it affects there long term health,” said Jason Davis, public information officer at Lane County Health & Human Services. “And, we know that this will also affect their ability to get a job [and] to maintain a job. It’s cyclical.”
There are exemptions that will be taken into account and the cuts will be made on a case by case basis.
In addition, state officials said those in need will continue to receive funds for up to three months.
Lane County authorities said, before people feel the impact locally, planning is key. They advise those on SNAP to contact Oregon DHS representatives to look at their options and see if they will lose their benefits.
These cuts are part of a nationwide move that will affect over 500,000 people.