The Ohio Senate and House have approved a bill, HB119, that will ramp up scrutiny of people on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), commonly known as food stamps. The new review process will require government administrators to review a person’s eligibility every quarter, this is currently an annual process.
The same requirements are also attached to those who receive Medicaid benefits.
Ohio Association of Foodbanks’ Lisa Hamler-Fugitt says this additional work can lead to more errors by administrators.
“It is a barrier that will have a chilling effect for our poorest citizens in order to be able to access food stamps or SNAP benefits, our first line of defense against hunger in our state,” says Hamler-Fugitt, adding that SNAP has the lowest error and fraud rate among federal programs.
Republican backers say this will help administrators uncover fraud quickly, adding that recipients won’t even be affected unless red flags pop up.
Watch: Ohio Senate debates increased eligibility verifications for SNAP, Medicaid
“They’ll simply take data that is available to them at their fingertips through various databases and otherwise and use that data to basically cross-check verification,” says Sen. Robert McColley (R-Napoleon). “The recipients themselves will have no idea this is going on and if there are red flags that do arise then the recipients will be provided notice and an opportunity to be heard to explain why there might have been a change of circumstances.”
The bill now heads to Gov. John Kasich. Hamler-Fugitt is calling on Kasich to veto the measure.