KUNM

SNAP

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The Trump administration has issued a new rule that could deny visas and green cards to some immigrants if they use government assistance programs like Medicaid or food assistance, citing the need for self-sufficiency and the cost.

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People who apply for food and medical assistance programs in New Mexico got used to long waits, mysterious denials, and catch-22s of bureaucracy. But after years of litigation, wait times are way down and a notorious backlog of cases is pretty much cleared. The new Human Services Department secretary has his eye on updating tech to make the whole system easier and more foolproof.

The central question in a two-decade federal court case is whether New Mexico’s Human Services Department is distributing SNAP and Medicaid fast enough and to the right people. A new boss was appointed to HSD in January. KUNM heard from Secretary David Scrase about the changes he’s making.

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For years, there’s been a fight in court about whether the state of New Mexico is following federal law when it comes to distributing food and medical assistance to almost half a million people here. Advocates told a federal judge this week that the state Human Services Department is still illegally denying SNAP and Medicaid to some eligible families. KUNM spoke with Maria Griego Thursday, May 16, right after the court hearing in Las Cruces. Griego is an attorney with The Center on Law and Poverty, and she explained what the state is doing wrong.

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The partial government shutdown is over for a couple of weeks. But the state is considering contingency plans for families who count on food benefits in case there’s another shutdown in mid-February.

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With the federal government shutdown, SNAP benefits in New Mexico were scheduled to dry up at the end of January. The 455,000 New Mexicans who rely on the food assistance program would have been impacted.

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Let’s Talk New Mexico 5/10 8a: About one in four New Mexicans has an EBT card in their wallet that they use to buy food. We’re continuing the conversation this week about food assistance and new work requirements that Congress is considering in the 2018 Farm Bill.

New Mexico's Delegation On The Farm Bill And SNAP

Apr 25, 2018
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For this week's Let's Talk New Mexico, we reached out to New Mexico's congressional delegation for their thoughts on the 2018 Farm Bill and SNAP funding. Here's what they sent us via email:

Rep. Ben Ray Luján (D)

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Let's Talk New Mexico 4/26 8a: Call 277-5866. We're talking about the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, and whether people in our state can access it. We'll also talk about the Farm Bill proposed in Congress, which would increase work requirements for people using SNAP, along with other changes. Have you applied for SNAP? How did the process go for you? Or what do you think of work requirements for people participating in this programs? How can people in New Mexico get the food they need? Email letstalk@KUNM.org, tweet #letstalkNM or call in live during the show. 

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For decades, families in New Mexico have been missing out on food and medical assistance that they’re eligible for under federal law. Records show that things have gotten better in recent months. Still, the issue’s been in court for 30 years, and a federal judge says one problem is a lack of accountability within the state’s Income Support Division

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New Mexico is still too slow in delivering food and medical assistance to the many people here who need it—and the problem is the people in charge. That’s according to a court appointed expert – a special master – who spent a year working inside the state Human Services Department’s Income Support Division.

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New Mexico is one of the poorest states in the union, and advocates fighting for people in poverty are alarmed at President Trump’s proposed budget.

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KUNM Year-End Show 12/22 8a: There were so many big stories in New Mexico this year that it was hard to pare down a list. Instead, our panel of journalists is going to be talking about four themes: child abuse and wellbeing, N.M. law enforcement, politics and SNAP (the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program).

Marisa Demarco / KUNM

A U.S. District Court judge has found the Human Services Department secretary in contempt of court after hearings this summer when state employees testified that they were instructed to falsify food stamps applications.

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The first report from a state investigation into whether state employees falsify food stamps applications revealed evidence of the practice, but so far, no written orders from higher-ups. The report was released Friday after a judge ruled that it had to be made public.

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