State officials believe upcoming changes to the federal food stamp program, which have attracted national attention in recent weeks, will have a minimal impact on Oklahoma.
The Trump administration has proposed three major changes to SNAP, or the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program that helps nearly 40 million low-income Americans afford food.
No Oklahoma SNAP recipients will lose benefits under the first change, which will take effect in April. That change will make it more difficult for able-bodied working adults without dependents to receive SNAP benefits.
“(Oklahoma’s Department of Human Services) would like to offer a measure of reassurance to our customers and the public regarding the changes being recommended to SNAP rules,” DHS spokeswoman Keili McEwen said in reference to the first change. Nationally, roughly 755,000 SNAP recipients could lose benefits under the initial rule change, but millions could lose coverage if all three proposed changes take effect.
The changes have been met with pushback from those who say the new rules will hurt some of the country’s poorest residents and divided congressional Republicans and Democrats, who have conflicting viewpoints on programs like SNAP.
Removing access to food does not help Oklahomans get back to work, said U.S. Rep. Kendra Horn, D-Oklahoma City. SNAP provides hundreds of thousands of Oklahomans with a proven path out of poverty, she said.
“Taking food off the table for families and individuals struggling with hunger creates more problems than solutions,” she said.