State Senate bill changes eligibility for SNAP benefits

The Senate Committee on Family and Children Services recently heard SB 11, authored by State Sen. Mike Bohacek’s (R-Michiana Shores), on eligibility for supplemental nutrition assistance. The bill removes the 12-month limitation on receipt by certain individuals of supplemental nutrition assistance program (SNAP) benefits, and it specifies that, beginning Jan. 1, 2019, Indiana elects to opt out of the federal law prohibiting individuals convicted of certain drug offenses from receiving SNAP assistance if the individual meets specified conditions. Sen. Bohacek explained that Indiana is one of only four states that still have lifetime ban on drug felons receiving food stamps.

Fifteen people testified in favor of the bill, representing such organizations as Feeding Indiana’s Hungry, The Villages/Prevent Child Abuse Indiana, Recycle Force, Indy Chamber, Indiana Catholic Conference, Children’s Coalition of Indiana, Midwest Food Banks, Goodwill of Central and Southern Indiana, a private volunteer from South Bend, Indiana Institute for Working Families, United Way of Central Indiana, American Heart Association, Shepherd Community Center, Indiana Township Association and Coalition for Homelessness Intervention and Prevention. No one testified against the bill.

The bill was amended to clarify that the eligibility would be forfeited if the individual violates any term of their probation, parole, community corrections, or court-ordered reentry program. The amended bill passed 7-0.

Read the bill at