VALLEY PARK, MO (KTVI) - Nearly 30,000 Missourians who relied on food stamps could now be cut off if they do not meet certain requirements. Some area food pantries are preparing for a huge increase in clients as people look for other ways to get food.
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program is the federal food stamp program and requires certain qualifications for able bodied adults without dependents. The SNAP program has work requirements in order to receive food stamps. If Missourians do not meet the work requirements they are cut off.
The 1996 federal welfare reform law limited food stamp benefits to three months out of every three years for childless, nondisabled adults unless they were working 20 hours a week or participating in a qualified job training program. Congress gave states the option to request a waiver of the provision in areas with high unemployment.
One provision in a bill adopted last year by the Missouri Legislature prohibits the state from seeking such a waiver. That measure also changed the amount of time Missouri families could receive temporary state assistance from 60 months to 45 months. The law began on January 1, which means that thousands of Missourians are expected to lose their welfare benefits on April 1.
Circle of Concern food pantry fed more than 23,000 people and shared close to 40,000 bags of groceries last year. They can't imagine seeing even more.