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Hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers will be getting more money than usual to help with groceries this month, the state Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance said Monday.

The office said all 750,000 people enrolled in the SNAP program will receive the maximum allowable payment this month, even though some households usually only qualify for a portion of that amount.

James Brown WXXI

With the head of the U.S. Department of Agriculture seeking to change who is eligible for SNAP benefits, Congressman Joe Morelle is encouraging residents to get involved.

Secretary Sonny Perdue wants to remove a rule that allows states to ease the income requirements for SNAP applicants. He calls that rule a “loophole.” 

The Trump administration is planning to overhaul the food stamps program, known as SNAP. Republicans point to several high-profile fraud cases, despite the low overall rate of fraud in the SNAP system. The result, according to the administration, will be the removal of more than three million people from the SNAP benefit program.

Our guests discuss the impacts:

Rochester Public Market

Governor Cuomo announced a plan Friday to keep food stamps working at farmers markets across the state through the end of the season.

It’s the latest temporary measure in a summer that began with the only company that makes mobile software to convert electronic food stamps to physical currency abruptly announcing it was going out of business.

Brett Dahlberg / WXXI News

The company behind the software that turns SNAP benefits into the tokens used at the Rochester Public Market has announced that it’s going out of business.

Novo Dia contacted the Farmers Market Federation of New York last week, alerting the organization that it would cease operations on July 31, and leaving markets across the state scrambling to find a replacement.

The company’s software is essential because there is no substitute, said Margaret O’Neill, who directs programs at the Rochester Public Market and sits on the board of the farmers market federation.

The author of a new book about food insecurity says food banks and food pantries were never meant to be permanent parts of our country. Andrew Fisher is a food security expert. He says food banks have become big business, and their ties to corporate America actually build on the underlying systemic issues that cause hunger.

He joins us to discuss how he thinks anti-hunger programs need to change. We also discuss the concept of the social purpose grocery, and how our community is addressing the root causes of hunger. In studio:

President Trump wants to reduce funding for food stamp programs and change the way the SNAP program works. Critics have called it the "Blue Apron of food stamps," arguing that people in poverty deserve choice, and can't always accommodate specific food preparation needs. The White House, and Republicans in Congress like Tom Reed, point to the need to crack down on fraud and waste.

We explore his proposal and hear from people in the food access movement. Our guests: