Today, Senator Charleta B. Tavares (D – Columbus) and Representative Dan Ramos (D-Lorain) called on Governor Kasich to restore access to Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits for 134,000 low-income Ohioans. The call to action comes as Ohioans prepare to celebrate the start of the holiday season with Thanksgiving on November 28.
"During this holiday season we should do all we can to make sure every resident of Ohio has the food they need," said Sen. Tavares. "That's why at this time of rising unemployment we are calling on Governor Kasich to request a statewide waiver like our neighboring states have done."
Ohio has participated in the statewide waiver program because of high employment rates since 2007. Current SNAP rules require childless adults who are not disabled to work or participate in a qualifying job-training program for a minimum of 20 hours per week. However, the federal government will waive the requirement in light of Ohio’s struggling economy. There would be no additional cost to the state of Ohio to again seek the waiver. Illinois, Indiana, and Michigan have already requested and been granted waivers to extend SNAP benefits.
Gov. Kasich recently extended the SNAP federal work waiver to only 16 counties, disproportionately affecting Ohio’s urban areas and other rural counties around the state. Lawmakers cited Ohio’s troubling trend of growing joblessness, a stagnant economy and lack of Work Experience Program (WEP) opportunities as reasoning to equitably extend the SNAP federal waiver to all 88 Ohio counties. Currently, there are only 9,000 available slots in the WEP program.
“The regretful irony of this situation is that Governor Kasich is championing his work on Medicaid expansion for the poor, but, at the same time, he will take food off the table of some of these very same people,” said Rep. Ramos. “Instead of working to fix fundamental problems with our state’s economy, Governor Kasich’s administration has decided to play politics with people’s food when there just aren’t enough jobs to go around.”