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University of Wisconsin–Madison
Poverty-related issues in the news, from the Institute for Research on Poverty

Tag: Eligibility

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program

  • Changes to food stamps could deny benefits to thousands, By Alfred Lubrano, July 23,2018, Philadelphia Inquirer: “For Ceyeissha McKim, it’s all pretty simple: ‘If I lose food stamps, I don’t survive,’ said McKim, 26, a mother of three and a professional caregiver who works 25 to 30 hours a week in West Grove, Chester County. Her eligibility for food stamps could one day disappear, thanks to proposed changes in the benefits program, known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP…”
  • Food-stamp use is still at recession-era levels despite job gains, By Reade Pickert and Alan Bjerga, July 19. 2018, Chicago Tribune: “Judging by the number of Americans on food stamps, it doesn’t feel like one of the best job markets in almost a half century and the second-longest economic expansion on record. Enrollment in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, better known as food stamps, fell to 39.6 million in April, the most recent government data show. That’s down from a record 47.8 million in 2012, but as a share of the population it’s just back to where it was as the economy emerged from the longest and deepest downturn since the Great Depression…”
  • Why crackdown fears may keep legal immigrants from food stamps, By Teresa Wiltz, July 24, 2018, Stateline: “It’s that time of the week — food pantry day — and before the doors even open at the Spanish Catholic Center, the patrons begin queueing up, lugging roller carts and empty grocery bags, the line stretching out onto the hot sidewalk. Immigrants all, they hail from the Congo and Costa Rica, from Nicaragua and El Salvador, from Togo and Vietnam. Most are seniors. And all of them, they say, are afraid…”

SNAP Participation – California

Why millions of Californians eligible for food stamps don’t get them, By Anna Gorman and Harriet Rowan, May 1, 2018, National Public Radio: “Millions of low-income Californians eligible for food stamps are not receiving the benefit, earning the state one of the lowest rankings in the nation for its participation in the program. Just three states — Utah, North Dakota and Wyoming — have lower rates of participation, according to the latest available federal data released this year. Meanwhile, California is among the leaders on enrollment in Medi-Cal, the state’s version of Medicaid, which also serves people living in low-income households…”

State Medicaid Programs – Kentucky, Kansas

Medicaid Work Requirements

  • Medicaid bill would require ‘able-bodied’ Iowa adults to work or study, By Tony Leys, February 7, 2018, Des Moines Register: “In order to qualify for Medicaid health insurance, ‘able-bodied’ Iowans would have to work at a job or attend school or job training under a bill introduced recently in the Legislature. Under the bill, Iowa would join several other states in seeking federal permission to implement such work requirements on Medicaid, which is jointly financed and run by federal and state governments…”
  • Medicaid work requirement wouldn’t change much in Louisiana, February 7, 2018, New Orleans Times Picayune: “Even though requiring Medicaid recipients to work is one of the few areas in which Gov. John Bel Edwards and Republican legislators agree, experts say implementing the rules may not have much of an impact…”

Medicaid Work Requirements

  • Medicaid patients sue over Trump administration’s new work requirement policy, By Noam N. Levey, January 24, 2018, Los Angeles Times: “Kicking off what will likely be a long legal battle over the Trump administration’s push to reshape Medicaid, 15 low-income Kentucky residents sued the federal government Wednesday, challenging the recent move to allow states to impose work requirements on some Medicaid enrollees. The lawsuit — spearheaded by three public-interest legal groups — accuses the federal Department of Health and Human Services of violating the core purpose of the half-century-old government health plan for the poor by granting a request from Kentucky to impose the work mandate…”
  • Kentucky’s new idea for Medicaid access: Pass health literacy course, By Austin Frakt, January 22, 2018, New York Times: “If you’re on Medicaid in Kentucky and are kicked off the rolls for failing to meet the state’s new work requirements, Kentucky will be offering a novel way to reactivate your medical coverage: a health or financial literacy course you must pass…”
  • Work requirements may prompt more states to expand Medicaid, By Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar (AP), January 23, 2018, Seattle Times: “In an ironic twist, the Trump administration’s embrace of work requirements for low-income people on Medicaid is prompting lawmakers in some conservative states to resurrect plans to expand health care for the poor. Trump’s move has been widely criticized as threatening the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion. But if states follow through, more Americans could get coverage…”
  • Missouri is looking at work requirements for Medicaid, By Sky Chadde, January 26, 2017, St. Louis Post-Dispatch: “Missouri appears headed toward requiring Medicaid recipients find jobs to receive their benefits. On Jan. 11, President Donald Trump’s administration announced it would allow states to implement work requirements for adults under the age of 65 on Medicaid who don’t have disabilities or who are pregnant. The next day, Kentucky was granted a waiver to its Medicaid program that allowed work requirements…”

Medicaid Work Requirements – Kentucky

The nation’s first Medicaid work rules loom, and many fear losing health coverage, By Amy Goldstein, January 19, 2018, Washington Post: “Gov. Matt Bevin is exultant as his administration sets out to transform Medicaid. Only a week ago, he won federal permission to pursue a goal that has animated his two years in office: making hundreds of thousands of poor Kentuckians hold jobs or engage in their communities in other ways to keep their health insurance. It is an approach never tried by any state, and it will also transform lives…”

Medicaid Work Requirements

  • Trump administration opens door to states imposing Medicaid work requirements, By Amy Goldstein, January 11, 2018, Washington Post: “The Trump administration issued guidance to states on Thursday that will allow them to compel people to work or prepare for jobs in order to receive Medicaid for the first time in the half-century history of this fundamental piece of the nation’s social safety net…”
  • Trump administration to allow states to require some Medicaid patients to work to be eligible, By Noam N. Levey, January 11, 2018, Los Angeles Times: “The Trump administration cleared the way Thursday for states to impose work requirements on many Americans who depend on Medicaid, the mammoth government health insurance program for the poor…”
  • Millions of Medicaid recipients already work, By Tami Luhby, January 10, 2018, CNN Money: “The Trump administration is about to start letting states require many Medicaid recipients to work for their benefits. But millions of Americans in the health care safety net program already have jobs…”
  • Work requirements may be just the beginning of Medicaid changes under Trump, By Mattie Quinn, January 12, 2018, Governing: “After months of speculation, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) opened the door on Thursday for states to require some low-income people to work in order to qualify for government-sponsored health insurance…”
  • How the Medicaid work requirement could backfire, By Aimee Picchi, January 12, 2018, CBS News: “For most working-age Americans, the health care system is largely tied to employers, with one big exception: Medicaid, the government insurance program for the poor, elderly and disabled…”
  • Kentucky is 1st to get OK for Medicaid work requirement, By Adam Beam (AP), January 12, 2018, Detroit News: “Kentucky became the first state to require many of its Medicaid recipients to work to receive coverage, part of an unprecedented change to the nation’s largest health insurance program under the Trump administration…”

SNAP Eligibility System – Illinois

Food stamp benefits disrupted for thousands as state launches new eligibility system, By Greg Trotter, December 18, 2017, Chicago Tribune: “Tens of thousands of Illinois households aren’t receiving federal food stamp benefits leading up to the holidays because of problems with a state computer system. In 2013, the state’s Department of Human Services began rolling out a new computer system to administer entitlement benefits, such as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits, more commonly known as SNAP or food stamps…”

Medicaid and Retroactive Eligibility

  • Several states roll back ‘retroactive Medicaid,’ a buffer for the poor, By Michelle Andrews, November 14, 2017, National Public Radio: “If you’re poor, uninsured and have a bad car wreck or fall seriously ill, there’s a chance in most states to enroll for Medicaid after the fact. If you qualify for Medicaid, the program will pay your medical bills going back three months. This ‘retroactive eligibility’ provides financial protection as patients await approval of their Medicaid applications. It protects hospitals, too, from having to absorb the costs of caring for these patients. But a growing number of states are rescinding this benefit…”
  • Legislator: ‘We made a mistake’ on policy changing Medicaid benefits, By Brianne Pfannenstiel, November 14, 2017, Des Moines Register: “A bipartisan group of legislators expressed concern Tuesday over a new law that will reduce coverage for thousands of new Medicaid beneficiaries in Iowa…”

Lifeline Program

This low-cost phone and Internet program wastes millions in federal funding, auditors say, By Brian Fung, June 29, 2017, Washington Post: “A federal program designed to help millions of low-income Americans afford phone and Internet service is riddled with fraud and abuse, with at least $137 million a year going to ineligible, fake or dead people, according to government auditors. The explosive report Thursday from the Government Accountability Office shows that despite efforts to rein in abuse of the sprawling Lifeline program, which serves 12.3 million subscribers on Medicaid, food stamps or other benefits, many recipients of the $9.25-a-month credit are violating program rules…”

State Benefit Program Eligibility Checks

What happens when states go hunting for welfare fraud, By Jen Fifield, May 24, 2017, Stateline: “By the time Illinois decided to crack down on Medicaid fraud in 2012, state officials knew that many people enrolled in the program probably weren’t eligible. For years, caseworkers hadn’t had the time or resources to check. To catch up, the state hired a private contractor to identify people who might not be eligible for the low-income health program and to make recommendations for whose benefits should be canceled. Within about a year, Illinois had canceled benefits for nearly 150,000 people whose eligibility could not be verified — and saved an estimated $70 million…”

SNAP Eligibility – New Hampshire

Bill could drastically change eligibility for food stamps in N.H., By Ella Nilsen, February 21, 2017, Concord Monitor: “A new bill that would change the requirements to get food stamps in New Hampshire could have dramatic impact on the welfare program.  Depending on whom you ask, it’s either needed reform or a devastating move that could throw 17,000 people in the state off food assistance.  The bill, introduced by state Sen. Kevin Avard, a Republican from Nashua, would change the way the state’s Department of Health and Human Services evaluates families for the food stamp program, requiring them to use federal limits for food stamp eligibility.  The legislation also requires individuals receiving food stamps to pay their child support…”

Welfare Reform – Wisconsin

Scott Walker: Parents should work 80 hours per month to get food stamps, By Molly Beck, January 24, 2017, Wisconsin State Journal: “Gov. Scott Walker wants parents who receive food stamps to work at least 80 hours per month to continue to receive full benefits.  Walker made the announcement Monday in appearances around the state promoting changes dubbed ‘Wisconsin Works for Everyone’ that he plans to make to the state’s welfare programs.  One component would require parents with school-age children living at home to work to continue to receive full benefits through the state’s food stamp program known as FoodShare…”

Cliff Effect of Public Assistance Programs

$15 minimum wage could squeeze workers on public assistance, By Katie Johnson, December 9, 2016, Boston Globe: “If it succeeds, a campaign to raise the Massachusetts minimum wage to $15 an hour could put more money in the pockets of low-income workers and create a path to self-sufficiency. But for some families, the boost in pay could mean a drop of hundreds of dollars a month in government benefits.  Food stamps, child care vouchers, and rent subsidies could be cut before families can afford to cover those expenses on their own, leaving some households, particularly single parents with young children, worse off despite a bigger paycheck — a phenomenon known as the ‘cliff effect…””

Medicaid Expansion – Louisiana

Louisiana first state to use food stamp data for Medicaid expansion, By Kevin Litten, May 06, 2016, New Orleans Times-Picayune: “Louisiana has gotten federal approval to use data from food stamp applications to qualify people for Medicaid, the first state in the country to use such a method. The approach will allow the Department of Health and Hospitals to automatically qualify tens of thousands of people for the state’s expansion of Medicaid, the federally funded health care program for the poor. It will also reduce the workload for DHH and its contractors as they begin signing up as many as 375,000 people over the next several months for the program that’s now being branded as ‘Healthy Louisiana…'”

Public Benefit Program Application and Eligibility

How 10 text messages can help families find out if they qualify for food stamps, By Max Lewontin, February 16, 2016, Christian Science Monitor: “A new texting-based system aims to simplify the process of applying for food stamps in Alaska, where 27 percent of people who are eligible for a common federal program that helps people buy food they need aren’t getting the benefits because they haven’t applied, state officials say.  Using text-based prompts, the system lets families see whether they would qualify for the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program in a series of 10 text messages, compared with a 28-page application that they would ordinary have to fill out…”

National School Lunch Program

Obama’s plan to give free lunches to millions more kids, By Roberto A. Ferdman, January 27, 2016, Washington Post: “The Obama administration will announce new plans Wednesday to launch a pilot program aimed at increasing poor children’s access to food through the National School Lunch Program. The pilot program will allow participating states to use Medicaid data to automatically certify students for free and reduced-price school lunches. Currently, families have to submit an application — a laborious process for parents and a costly one for schools — even when they have already proven that they are income-eligible through their participation in other government assistance programs…”

Medicaid Coverage Gap – Missouri

Failure to expand Medicaid impacts thousands in Ozarks, By Jon Swedien, Springfield News-Leader: “Looking back over the past year, Terri McCulloch said she was like one of the living dead. The 52-year-old said a thyroid condition had rendered her sick and unable to work. And in the wake of a recent divorce, she was left scrambling for a new place to live and without the health insurance…”

Cliff Effect of Public Assistance Programs

Why getting ahead often feels like falling behind when you’re poor, By Megan Verlee, November 3, 2015, Colorado Public Radio: “Call it poverty’s ‘glass ceiling.’ The way many public benefit programs are structured, even minor increases in income can result in a big loss in assistance. That’s sometimes so large a loss that it can send families tumbling backwards just when they thought they were finally getting ahead. Longmont resident Tracey Jones knows all about the phenomenon, often called the ‘cliff effect.’ She’s been living at its edge for several years now…”

SNAP Recipients and Benefit Renewal – New York City

Navigating a bureaucratic maze to renew food stamp benefits, By Winnie Hu, July 23, 2015, New York Times: “Three months after Delbert Shorter’s food stamps were cut off, he still does not know why. At first, he thought that his $180 a month allotment from the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, commonly called SNAP or food stamps, was just late. But as one week turned into another, Mr. Shorter, 78, who lives in a fifth-floor walk-up on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, grew more anxious, and hungrier. He stockpiled canned foods from a church food pantry, borrowed $60 from his home health aide and turned to a senior center to help get his food stamps back. ‘It’s very hard,’ he said. ‘If I knew it was really going to come, I would not have to worry about the next meal.’  Even as New York City has embarked on a campaign to increase access to food stamps in recent months, Mr. Shorter’s plight illustrates the barriers that remain for those who are already enrolled…”