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N.H. Senate Bill Seeks To Limit Food Stamp Eligibility

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A bill in the State Senate could sharply reduce the number of people eligible for SNAP benefits, commonly called food stamps.

Senate Bill 7 would basically make it harder to get food stamps in New Hampshire by changing financial eligibility and other requirements for applicants.

On Tuesday, the Senate Health and Human Services Committee heard testimony against the bill from the New Hampshire Food Bank and New Hampshire Legal Assistance. Sarah Mattson Dustin, of Legal Assistance, told lawmakers the bill will downshift the cost of feeding low-income families.

"They are going to go to their local welfare offices. They are going to go to food pantries," said Mattson Dustin.

The federal government picks up the entire cost of SNAP benefits, although New Hampshire covers 50 percent of the administrative costs of the program.

The bill's sponsor is Republican Senator Kevin Avard. He says he co-wrote the bill with a lobbyist representing the Foundation for Government Accountability, a conservative group pushing similar measures in statehouses around the country. 

Before joining NHPR in August 2014, Jack was a freelance writer and radio reporter. His work aired on NPR, BBC, Marketplace and 99% Invisible, and he wrote for the Christian Science Monitor and Northern Woodlands.
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