Proposed SNAP Changes Would Impact 41% Of Ohio Recipients

A person holding bags of fresh produce
The change is part of a series of changes to SNAP at the federal level. It could go into effect next year. [ARIMAG / Shutterstock]
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Proposed changes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) would hit Northeast Ohio families particularly hard, according to statistics from the Center for Community Solutions (CCS).

CCS found 41 percent of the state’s SNAP recipients would be affected by a federal proposal to remove states’ ability to calculate benefits based on local utility costs.

Reducing the Standard Utility Allowance starting next year could cost Cuyahoga County $21 million and Cleveland $13 million annually. That breaks down to a loss of about $45 a month for each SNAP recipient. The average monthly benefit for Ohioans is currently $126.

States currently calculate SNAP benefits in part by using localized utility costs, but the new federal rule would shift to a standardized deduction, explained John Corlett, CCS president and executive director.

“In states like Ohio, like Cleveland, where we tend to get cold in the winter and sometimes very hot in the summer, we have higher utility costs than some other states,” Corlett said. “As a result, we’ll be penalized.”

Some local neighborhoods will be hit worse than others based on the local number of SNAP recipients, Corlett said, potentially putting low-income areas at higher risk for becoming a food desert.

“Cuts of this size could make it more difficult for food businesses, food retailers, to stay in business if their customers don’t have access to this assistance,” he said.

The proposed cuts would primarily impact households with children, elderly residents and people with disabilities, according to the report.

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