COHHIO is supporting efforts to fight new red tape barriers that will make it harder for struggling Ohioans to access food stamps (SNAP) and Medicaid benefits.

Unfortunately, the Ohio Senate recently added provisions from controversial legislation (Senate Bill 17) into the state’s biennial budget. We are working with Advocates for Ohio’s Future (AOF) to get these provisions removed in the conference committee process.

AOF reports that the negative changes added to the budget bill include:

  • Requires Change Reporting for all SNAP households, a practice which no other state in the country uses. Change Reporting would be most harmful to working Ohioans whose wages fluctuate regularly despite remaining eligible for SNAP. Change Reporting would also be very costly for County Departments of Job and Family Services and would likely increase the state’s payment error rate, resulting in significant federal penalties.
  • Prevents Ohio from exercising SNAP state options relating to Categorical Eligibility. This provision would require Ohio to reinstitute an asset test, which bars most households from participating in SNAP if they have more than $2,250 in assets including homes and cars. It would also prevent Ohio from ever raising SNAP’s gross income limit above 130% of the federal poverty line to address the benefit cliff experienced by many working families.
  • Makes child support cooperation mandatory in order to participate in SNAP. This would take food away from families with children who do not want to risk their safety (domestic violence concerns) to pursue a formal child support arrangement, be expensive to administer and ineffective.
  • Requires the Department of Medicaid to use third-party data to conduct an eligibility redetermination of all Ohio Medicaid recipients within 60 days after the conclusion of the COVID-19 emergency period. These provisions would be virtually impossible for county JFS offices to complete without jeopardizing program integrity in all other programs they administer (like SNAP, Child Care Assistance, and Child Support). It would also likely be error prone, potentially leading to significant federal penalties.

Please contact your Ohio House and Senate members and ask them to remove these provisions from the budget bill! And while you’re at it, ask them to remove the attack on affordable housing that was also included in the Senate’s budget bill.