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Proposed Changes To Food Stamp Program Could Impact San Diegans

An sign displaying

Credit: Matt Hoffman/KPBS

Above: An sign displaying "We Accept EBT" is hung outside of a store in City Heights.

A San Diego food advocacy group is looking at how proposed changes to the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program, or SNAP, could impact local beneficiaries.

House Republicans on Thursday drafted their first Farm Bill, which included changes to the SNAP benefit structure.

RELATED: Republican Farm Bill Calls On Many SNAP Recipients To Work Or Go To School

A proposed change to SNAP calls for able-bodied people aged 18 to 59 to work 20 hours a week or go through job training. The San Diego Hunger Coalition said SNAP was created to help people access basic food resources, not create job training programs.

"We don’t believe that SNAP is a place to do that," said Amanda Schultz Brochu, who is with the San Diego Hunger Coalition. "If Congress truly believed in workforce development they would invest in programs that already exist that have proven track records for improving employability."

The hunger coalition is working with the county of San Diego to see how many people could be affected by the proposed requirements.

“Right now estimates are around 25,000 San Diegans would need to meet work requirements or be kicked off the program," she said.

SNAP offers food assistance to low-income people and families. In California, the program is known as CalFresh, and benefits are distributed through Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cards.

The proposed work requirements for SNAP would not go in effect until 2021.

A Republican-drafted Farm Bill is proposing mandatory work or job training for people who receive federal food aid, which could impact around 25,000 people in San Diego County.

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