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Changes in SNAP Benefits go Into Effect Friday - KOAM TV 7

Changes in SNAP Benefits go Into Effect Friday

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JOPLIN, MISSOURI -

As many as 1 million Americans will be affected by changes in SNAP benefits, changes that go into effect in Missouri on Friday.

Roughly 60,000 Missourians will lose access to food stamps if they don't meet certain requirements. They'll have to be employed, in school, or in job training to access SNAP. The requirements apply to able bodied adults with no dependents ages 18 to 49.

“How do we get folks kind of engaged again who can work, or go to school and kind of get those better skill sets and in some cases it could be vocational training. So I think it’s just a way, how do we reengage this very specific population,” says Debbie Markman with the Economic Security Corporation.

While unemployment is currently low in Joplin, Markman says this could affect a vulnerable population including those lacking necessary skill sets, with mental illness, recovering from drug problems, or who were recently incarcerated.

“For the folks that maybe are having difficulties with getting their life’s journey back together, I think it’s going to be somewhat difficult because not having something to eat or being able to count on that can be difficult when you're trying to engage an employer,” she adds.

She says there could be both positive and negative outcomes. Residents receiving SNAP benefits that will not be affected by the changes can also see both sides.

“In a positive way, it could get more people looking for work which would be good but there would be those who it would be even harder on them,” says Joplin resident Chris Kelso.

It could increase the need for assistance within the community. The loss of this food assistance averages about $150 per person per month.

Officials at the Economic Security Corporation are looking at the positive side, they say this may drive more people in seeking employment services

The impact of these changes will be felt in 21 other states

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