SNAP rule change will affect midstate, but exemptions exist

Written by Ben Allen, General Assignment Reporter | May 3, 2016 12:44 PM

(Harrisburg) -- Rules for SNAP benefits are tightening in Pennsylvania, and the change goes into effect at the end of the month.

Once known as food stamps, the benefits are being cut off starting in June for people who have collected more than three months of help and aren't currently working.

But in the midstate, there are a bunch of exemptions.

People in the cities of Harrisburg, Lancaster, Lebanon, Reading and York don't have to meet the requirement.

Those in Mifflin, Northumberland, and Schuylkill counties are also exempt.

As a result, Central Pennsylvania Food Bank Executive Director Joe Arthur says demand isn't likely to jump suddenly.

"We're not expecting significant increases in people coming to our pantries and other partners we serve because of this issue. There may be an increase, but we think it's going to be manageable."

Arthur says food bank staff have been answering more questions from people about the SNAP rule changes.

"We're in the transition period, so we don't know right now, what's the impact but we expect that it's going to be lessened," adds Arthur.

The rules are tightening because more people are finding jobs across the U.S.

People who want to remain eligible for the benefits that were once known as food stamps can work 20 hours a week, enroll in school or work training, or volunteer in their community.

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