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Fine Print In Changes To Food Stamps Program

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Almost a quarter of the people in New Mexico rely on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program—about 448,000. And the Human Services Department is once again calling for more work search and volunteer hours or job training for recipients. Opponents say the rule changes are confusing.

Louise Pocock is a staff attorney with the New Mexico Center on Law and Poverty. "Our concern is that if the rules are not very clear about what people have to do and what time they have to fulfill those requirements, more people will lose SNAP incorrectly," she said.

HSD spokesperson Matt Kennicott says people with kids 6 and up would only have to meet work search requirements.

Pocock says none of that’s in writing. "As the rule is written now, there’s nothing that guarantees the right to parents only to be limited to job search or to choose alternative activities if they want," she said.

The first phase of the new rules is supposed to go into effect in October.

Read the proposed rule change and a draft of the state’s plan for next year at publichealthnm.org.

Marisa Demarco began a career in radio at KUNM News in late 2013 and covered public health for much of her time at the station. During the pandemic, she is also the executive producer for Your NM Government and No More Normal, shows focused on the varied impacts of COVID-19 and community response, as well as racial and social justice. She joined Source New Mexico as editor-in-chief in 2021.
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