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SNAP

Missourians who are eligible for Food Stamp benefits will receive their February Food Stamp benefit early.  The United States Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service (FNS), which administers the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) or Food Stamp program, informed states that payments for the February Food Stamp or SNAP benefit must be issued on January 20 due to the partial federal government shutdown.

On a busy football Saturday, fans on both sides of the Iowa-Nebraska line streamed into a tiny grocery store to pick up hamburger, soda and chips.

Store manager Nick Johnson, a third-generation store owner in far southwest Iowa, has long had a front-row seat to the local economy. Times have been tough since the recession, with lots of people losing their manufacturing jobs, though he says that it looks like some of those are coming back. 

And similar to the rest of the country, farm income is down thanks to low crop prices

Amy Mayer / Harvest Public Media

Segment 1: Proposed work requirements for some public food assistance is ruffling feathers.

While senators and House members in Washington struggle to find the compromises that could turn this year's version of the farm bill into law, millions of stakeholders await a solution. Today, we got an update from Harvest Public Media on how the negotiations, and their eventual outcomes, could affect city- and country-dwellers across the Midwest.

State Auditor Nicole Galloway says Missouri appears to be wasting millions of dollars through misuse of its food assistance program.

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, was formerly known as the Food Stamp Program. It helps low-income Missourians get food at grocery stores by using a state-funded electronic card.

Claire Verbeck / KCUR 89.3

Segment 1: Why a consent decree between Kansas City and the EPA is impacting how much you pay for sewer services.

Missouri Department of Social Services screenshot

People who work with federal food-aid recipients in Missouri and recipients themselves have said the state’s hotline is slow to answer phone calls. State data shows that at times, callers have had to wait up to an hour to talk to someone and that in May 2017, almost a quarter of callers abandoned getting through.

Missouri’s Family Services Division started addressing those concerns in April and said it expects to have new software in place by July to make the call center more efficient and start the food-stamp interview process more quickly.

Peggy Lowe / Harvest Public Media

The two women wheel a grocery cart across the parking lot to a white van, open the door and shove kids’ toys out of the way.

Sandra Viloria and Amy Truckowski are friends and U.S. Army veterans who carpooled to the Leavenworth Mission Food Pantry to stock up on a week’s essentials — canned vegetables, bread, eggs and frozen meat. The food pantry is just a couple miles from Fort Leavenworth, the large U.S. Army installation in northeast Kansas.  

Grant Gerlock / Harvest Public Media

There’s a Republican-authored proposal in the next farm bill that would require millions more people to work or volunteer in order to receive federal food assistance.

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program accounts for most of the spending in the bill, which is up for renewal this year, and provides monthly stipends for more than 40 million low-income Americans to buy food (though in many cases the funds may only cover a couple weeks).

Conservatives argue expanding work requirements will help SNAP recipients find jobs and move off of food assistance. But House Democrats have said the requirements would punish people who struggle to work, and it’s become the central contentious issue in this year’s farm bill debate.

Erica Hunzinger / Harvest Public Media

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is the biggest federal program aimed at breaking the cycle of poverty that millions of Americans find themselves in — sometimes for a few months, sometimes for several years.

Missouri lawmakers continue to work on several bills, including one that could result in the first filibuster of the 2018 legislative session.

A bill sponsored by State Sen. David Sater, R-Cassville, would ban participation in the federal program formerly known as food stamps, now called SNAP, for heads of households able to work but who choose not to. Food benefits would also be cut off to dependents living with that individual, including children.

Andy Marso / Heartland Health Monitor

For Ashlyn Harcrow, the sound of the train whistle brings up all kinds of thoughts she’d like to avoid.

Harcrow, 24, has been living at the Topeka Rescue Mission since July. The nonprofit homeless shelter has helped her stabilize as she recovers from domestic violence and tries to improve her mental health amid post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and anxiety.

But the mission, at 600 N. Kansas Ave., is right next to the tracks. As trains rumble through north Topeka, they remind Harcrow that she’s thought about using those tracks to take her own life.

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

Bishop James Johnston came to town to lead KC's Catholics at a challenging time — and he started with an apology on behalf of the church. We check in on what's being done to address the sexual abuse scandal that engulfed his predecessor, and we'll hear his journey from electrical engineering to shepherding a flock of some 130,000 Catholic faithful here.

Guests:

Kansas lawmakers are preparing to vote on a bill that would further tighten the rules for the state’s two main public assistance programs.

The measure, which the House Commerce, Labor and Economic Development Committee endorsed on Wednesday, writes into state law several recent administrative changes made as part of Gov. Sam Brownback’s welfare to work initiative.

18 Big Lobbyers That Influenced The Farm Bill

Jul 14, 2014
Bigstock

Setting the course for almost a trillion dollars of government spending, the 2014 Farm Bill attracted hundreds of companies eager to find their slice of the pie.

David Kosling / Courtesy USDA

When U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow announced passage of the Farm Bill in February, she echoed a refrain from a car commercial.

“This is not your father’s Farm Bill,” she said.

Rural Areas Worry About Food Stamp Cuts

Dec 2, 2013
Peter Gray / Harvest Public Media

The next farm bill is all but certain to contain cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), more commonly known as food stamps. Long championed by legislators from urban districts, the food stamp program isn’t just an urban concern. Families living amid fertile farmland struggle to put food on the table and increasingly rely on SNAP benefits. 

The federal government’s food stamp program could do more to encourage healthy eating among program recipients, according to a recent analysis conducted by the USDA, which administers the program.

A proposed rule change that would have eliminated food stamp eligibility for about 58,000 Missourians has been withdrawn by Gov. Jay Nixon.

The governor had sought to cut eligibility for unemployed adults without children, citing concerns over the amount of federal funds available for state-run food assistance programs. 

Fellow Democrat and State Senator Jamilah Nasheed of St. Louis says she’s elated by the governor’s reversal.

clementine gallot / Flickr

An official with the Missouri Department of Social Services (DSS) briefed a House Interim Committee Monday on Governor Jay Nixon's proposed rule change to cut able-bodied adults without children from the federal food stamp program (SNAP) if they don't have a job. 

Allison Campbell with the DSS Family Support Division says they initially sought to implement the change on October 1st via emergency rule, but she admits that approach was a mistake.

Kansas’ new rules for food stamp recipients require them to work or participate in a job training program if they are able-bodied and have no dependents. They’re actually federal requirements that were in effect from 1997 until 2009, but were waived across the country when the recent recession hit.  

kthread / Flickr--CC

This week, Kansas let a 2009 government waiver expire that provided food stamps for the unemployed. Now, able-bodied Kansans between 18 and 49 who do not have dependents, have to work or be in a job training program to have access to the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP), or food stamps.

Kansas currently has about 318,000 food stamp recipients. Advocates for low-income people say this change will create a dangerous hole in an already thin safety net.

A report released Wednesday by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) shows the number of Missouri households threatened by hunger has grown over the past three years.

Jessica Naudziunas / Harvest Public Media

Congress did not pass the new version of the farm bill last week-- but what does that really mean for farmers?

In the first part of Monday's Up to Date, Steve Kraske talks with Harvest Public Media's Peggy Lowe and Jeremy Bernfeld about how this bill's failure affects farmer subsidies and food assistance. We'll also look at what happens when the current farm bill expires.

Beautiful Lily/Flickr--CC

The U.S. House is set to take up the farm bill this week, after the Senate passed its version of the bill in early June. Both bills include about $500 billion in spending over five years. Few pieces of legislation can produce such sharp divisions, even by Washington standards—but few could have such immediate, significant impact on so many Americans.

Grant Gerlock / Harvest Public Media

April Segura is a regular at the Old Cheney Road Farmers Market in Lincoln, Neb. On a warm, May afternoon, the single, stay-at-home mother of three greeted friends and acquaintances while strolling past tables of lettuce and herbs. She hoped to find more asparagus for sale.

“I love asparagus season and it’s probably about to be over,” said Segura, holding two grocery bags with one arm and her one-year-old son, Jeriel, with the other.

Roberts Says Bill Would Improve SNAP, Save Billions

Mar 6, 2013

Kansas Senator Pat Roberts has introduced a bill to reform the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as food stamps.  Roberts says the bill would save $36-billion over ten years by eliminating waste, and closing loopholes in the program.

Dan Verbeck / KCUR

Missouri’s 5th District Congressman Emanuel Cleaver got 60 percent of the vote and an easy win over Republican opponent Jacob Turk.

The Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services recently cut off hundreds – possibly thousands – of immigrant families from receiving food stamps.

Gag Order Charge Stirs Priestly Abuse Case

Jan 3, 2012

The quest for discovery of evidence in an alleged priestly abuse case in Kansas City is turning more complicated. A Jackson County Circuit Judge has ordered a third party to turn over records. And its executive director says he will not.