Some Oregon food stamp users losing benefits Friday - KPTV - FOX 12

Some Oregon food stamp users losing benefits Friday

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Photo: KPTV Photo: KPTV
Photo: KPTV Photo: KPTV

More than 6,000 people living in Multnomah and Washington counties are expected to lose their food stamps Friday, as a decades-old provision to the law will come into effect.

Oregon Food Bank said Wednesday it will likely have to fill that gap – doling out more food for the people who won’t have anywhere else to turn.

“We definitely anticipate seeing an increase in demand,” said Oregon Food Bank public policy advocate Jeff Kleen. “It’s going to increase hunger in our state.”

The Welfare Reform Act, passed in 1996, puts time limits on how long able-bodied adults without children can be on food stamps. The law says some of these people can only be on food stamps for three months out of every three years.

However, for more than a decade, Oregon and many other states have been exempt because the law suspends the time limit for places with high unemployment rates.

Because Washington and Multnomah counties are both experiencing job growth and low unemployment, the counties will no longer be exempt.

Adults who don’t have children and who are not disabled will, in most cases, be required to work at least 20 hours a week in order to receive food stamps.

One Multnomah county woman, who did not want to be identified, said she just got a job and the work is saving her access to food stamps. She said she works nearly 40 hours a week, but spends all of the income on rent. She said she depends on nearly $200 a month in food stamps to survive.

“I don’t think a lot of people know how hard it is to be poor — I work really hard,” she said.

It’s estimated about half a million Americans will be affected by the law.

Kleen said Deschutes and Clackamas counties could be affected next as each area continues to add jobs to the economy.

Kleen added that food stamp funding has already been cut in recent years. A Congressional budget committee has proposed cutting the program by another $150 billion over the next decade.  

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