Ohioans who receive food stamps may soon face extra steps to get benefits

A new provision under the Senate's proposed state budget would require Ohioans who use SNAP benefits to take an asset test.

OHIO, USA — Senate lawmakers are calling for Ohioans who use SNAP benefits to take an asset test. It would measure total worth, including belongings such as cars and savings. The goal is to cut down on fraud.

Director of Advocates for Ohio's Future, Kelsey Bergfeld, said the Senate added these provisions. They are not included in the House's version of the budget.

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"During the conference committee process, the governor and the house and the senate will have to decide which one will move forward kind of whenever there is a change in difference of opinion between the 3 bodies," said Bergfeld.

Republican Sen. Matt Huffman told the Associated Press that the test will help make sure needy recipients of SNAP benefits get what they deserve, but Bergfeld said now is not the time for the change. People are still trying to get back on their feet after the COVID-19 pandemic.

"It will make families have to choose between keeping their family car that they use to get to and from work. Starting to save, save for emergencies and try to really stabilize their families," said Bergfeld.

Huffman said there are a lot of Ohioans receiving these benefits who can afford to pay for a variety of things and are cheating the system. However, Bergfeld says that's not really the case.

Bergeld said, "I think the error rate and fraud rate for Ohio is around 1% in the SNAP program, so it's a very small problem if any. "

She says more than 100,000 families could be impacted if this budget goes through.

Sen. Theresa Gavarone, R-Bowling Green, shared a statement with WTOL, reading:

"Americans work hard for their money and expect their public officials to ensure that their tax dollars are being spent wisely. The bottom line is that the provision in the budget will not affect anyone who truly does not have the means to provide food for themselves or their family. Rather, it will impact Ohioans who are either intentionally committing fraud through the SNAP program or who already have the resources to pay for food.”

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