WXXI AM News

Thousands in Monroe County could lose SNAP funding

Jul 24, 2019

A proposal from the U.S. Department of Agriculture could stop thousands of people in Monroe County from receiving SNAP funds to buy food. 

Monroe County receives about $15 million in SNAP money per month to help feed needy families. By federal law, SNAP benefits go to people who make 130% of the poverty line or less. For a family of four, the poverty rate is about $25,000. 

But New York and 39 other states have eased those rules, allowing people who make in some cases twice the poverty rate to receive the money. 

The Trump administration wants to stop states from doing that. The USDA’s proposal would modify the Food and Nutrition Act of 2008, which allows states to ease the federal rules. 

Mark Dwyer is a spokesperson for Foodlink. That nonprofit has a network of food cupboards and kitchens throughout western New York to fight food insecurity. 

“Any time SNAP is threatened, Foodlink will see that on the other end,” said Dwyer. 

According to the state Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance, about 113,000 people in Monroe County receive SNAP benefits each month. It’s unclear how many of those people are over the poverty line, but national estimates say about 9% of SNAP recipients are in this group. 

Dwyer said a change like this could hit hard locally.

“You’re talking about 10, 11, 12,000 people that could be losing their SNAP benefits as a result of this rule change,” said Dwyer. “Red states, blue states, purple states -- they all benefit from this program, they’ve all used it to enroll people in SNAP because they see it as useful to lift people out of poverty.”

The public has 60 days to comment on the proposal online. You can do that here.