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PA Governor Corbett Halts $3 Million in Cuts to Food Stamps Program
Mar 6, 2014 | News

In a surprising move, Pennsylvania's Republican governor Tom Corbett today halted cuts mandated by Congress to the SNAP program, thereby preserving benefits for more than 400,000 families.

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Some speculate that the decision is motivated by Governor Corbett's desire to be re-elected, but whatever the reason, his decision will prevent the loss of approximately $3 billion from Pennsylvania's SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) fund. Congress had already made $5 billion in cuts to the nationwide SNAP program last November, which decreased Pennsylvania's 2014 benefits by $183 million.

The passage of the Farm Bill in February further complicated matters for SNAP recipients. The bill imposed a new eligibility standard for increased SNAP assistance -- summarized, recipients will not be eligible unless they receive at least $20 per month from 2014 LIHEAP (Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program). Many Pennsylvania residents cannot meet this standard.

Corbett's decision preserves SNAP benefits by using a portion of Pennsylvania's LIHEAP block grant from the federal government to cover the mandated increase in federal energy aid by SNAP recipients. No state money will be used, and the use of LIHEAP money will not put the fund in danger; it typically ends the year with a surplus.

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