SNAP | KUER 90.1

SNAP

Photo of a SNAP sign in a grocery story window.
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Families of K-12 students in Utah are now able to receive federal assistance for school meals they missed when buildings closed earlier this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Photo of the wave.
Wikimedia Commons

Tuesday morning, June 16, 2020

Photo of federal building.
Nicole Nixon / KUER

As the record-breaking government shutdown continues into its fourth week, state budget managers are preparing for portions of the federal government to remain closed for weeks or even months more. That could leave the state to pick up the tab for programs like nutritional assistance and unemployment claims from furloughed federal workers.

Julia Ritchey / KUER

The House of Representatives passed its newest version of the farm bill this week. It includes stricter work requirements for people who get food stamps.

Austen Diamond / KUER

For the first time the federal government has allowed states to develop work requirements for people on Medicaid, the low-income government health insurance program. It’s a big change, requiring people to work in exchange for health care. Utah is one of 10 states that applied to do it. At least one bill in the legislature is sketching out what work requirements could look like.

Nicole Nixon

Many people visit farmer’s markets to buy fresh, locally-produced foods. A mobile market run by Salt Lake City is aiming to expand access to healthy produce.

The state auditor’s office has released a report with recommendations for catching and dealing with food stamps abuse.

The number of people getting food assistance from Utah’s SNAP program has significantly declined over the past two years. State officials credit improvements in the economy and employment, but some advocates for the poor say it also has to do with work requirements that make it harder for people to receive benefits.

Nic Dunn is a spokesperson for Utah Department of Workforce Services, and when he looks at the decline in SNAP caseloads, he sees evidence that the state is climbing out of the recession.