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Politics & Government

Corbett's SNAP Asset Test Ends Monday

As of Monday Pennsylvania, will no longer have an asset test for those wanting to receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance (SNAP) benefits, which are sometimes referred to as food stamps.

The requirement was put in place by the Corbett administration and Governor Tom Wolf came out against the test early in his campaign. Acting Pennsylvania Department of Human Services Secretary Ted Dallas said the state spent roughly $3.5 million a year keeping tract of the requirement.

“Our staff had to look at a lot of financial statements, there was a lot of work that needed to be done to determine if people were eligible or not eligible under the SNAP asset test,” Dallas said. “Because it was very complicated it was very costly.”

A SNAP recipient under the age of 60 could not have household assets of more than $5,500 and seniors had to stay below $9,000. Currently there are 11 other states that have similar asset tests.

“While this test is being eliminated there is still a very through vetting for folks who receive food stamps,” Dallas said.

Just as troubling for Dallas as the cost in man-hours spent on running the program was an error rate of 35-40 percent, delays experienced by those who would eventually be deemed eligible while they tried to find the needed documentation, and the belief that the asset test disproportionally impacted seniors and those with disabilities.

The SNAP benefits are federally funded and only pass through the state so all of the savings were realized at the federal level.

“It just didn’t justify moving forward with it,” Dallas said.

Dallas said the hours freed up by not managing the test will be reallocated to programs such as educating SNAP recipients on proper nutrition and managing the state’s growing Medicaid program. He said there could also be some financial savings realized from the change.