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New Mexico Wants to Implement Tougher Requirements For Food Stamp Recipients

Soon, it might not be too easy to receive food stamps in New Mexico. Under Republican Gov. Susana Martinez, the state government is considering mandating additional requirements for individuals seeking Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits. The state is proposing that SNAP members between the ages of 16 and 60, with children older than 6, complete 80 hours of community service per month. Currently, the food stamp requirements are adults between the ages of 18 and 50 must be either employed or actively searching for work to receive food stamps.

Over the past year, there was a 21 percent increase in enrollment cases for the SNAP program in New Mexico. Now that 20 percent of the population is on food stamps, Martinez's administration wants to give recipients skills that could be used elsewhere. Yet, her proposal is not without its share of critics. Louise Pocock of the New Mexico Center on Law and Poverty told KOAT "Ultimately it's going to be the family that is going to have less Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits if the adult is not able to comply."

Pocock also told The Washington Times “We don’t think that that’s a great idea considering we’re a state with the highest hunger and poverty [rates in the nation]." Moreover, Allen West, executive director for the New Mexico Conference of Bishops, said to KOAT “This is a burdensome rule [that] will take food off the table of poor people." If the proposal passes, it will go into effect on Oct. 1.

Photo: Liberty News Now

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