Do you remember this time last year when some SNAP recipients in Multnomah and Washington Counties were just learning they were at risk of losing their SNAP benefits? It feels like deja-vu, only this time around we've added Clackamas County to the mix.
2017 will see the expansion of harsh time limits to Clackamas County SNAP recipients. This means childless SNAP recipients ages 18-49 in Clackamas County will have to work at least 80 hours a month to receive SNAP benefits, or qualify for an exemption, and if they cannot, they can only receive food assistance for three months during a three year period. For more details on the rules, exemptions, and requirements visit our webpage here (oregonhunger.org/ABAWD). You can also take this short quiz to see if you might be exempt from the SNAP time limits.
As of April 30, 2016, 4,465 Oregonians in Multnomah and Washington Counties lost SNAP benefits because of these time limits. We’re grateful for all the work that the Oregon Department of Human Services, advocates, local government and social service providers did to prevent more people from losing benefits. Originally estimates had more than 32,000 people in Multnomah and Washington Counties at risk of losing benefits. The vast majority qualified for exemptions to these rules and were able to continue receiving food assistance. We hope the same thing happens in Clackamas County too.
Nationally, many other states also implemented time limits and the impact was huge. An estimated 500,000 childless adults lost SNAP benefits in 2016 and April 1, 2016 (when many individuals first met the time limits) saw the largest single-month decline in the SNAP caseload since 2005 (when temporary disaster SNAP benefits ended following Hurricane Katrina).
Those who lost benefits are worse off. These time limits disportionately impact the most vulnerable and poor among us: people on the verge of homelessness and people with significant barriers to work, such as limited education, a lack of transportation, and mental and physical impairments. Many of those affected are working part time and want to work more, but cannot find full-time work. Losing food assistance does not help people find work, it only makes their situation harder.
We believe our community flourishes when all Oregonians have access to the food they need. Let’s tell Congress: Don’t punish the poor. Instead, invest in stable communities and help everyone thrive. Protect SNAP by repealing these time limits. Sign the petition here.
 Dottie Rosenbaum and Brynne Keith-Jennings, “SNAP Caseload and Spending Declines Accelerated in 2016”, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, December 29, 2016 http://www.cbpp.org/research/food-assistance/snap-caseload-and-spending-declines-accelerated-in-2016#_ftn8