MDHS: New SNAP guidelines won’t affect Mississippi

A new rule regarding SNAP benefits will not impact Mississippi, according to the Mississippi Department of Human Services. 

The rule, drafted by the USDA, tightens work requirements for able-bodied adults without dependents and reforms the ability for states to grant work requirement waivers in areas with high unemployment rates.

In a statement, MDHS explained that the ‘Act to Restore Hope Opportunity and Prosperity for Everyone’ signed by Governor Phil Bryant in 2017 ensured that Mississippi would not seek, apply for, accept or renew any waiver of the requirements in question. 

The MDHS’ full statement can be read below. 

“House Bill 1090, The Act to Restore Hope Opportunity and Prosperity for Everyone (HOPE) was signed by Governor Phil Bryant in April 2017 and became effective July 1, 2017. The HOPE Act dictated that Mississippi “would not seek, apply for, accept or renew any waiver of requirements for ABAWD receiving SNAP benefits except during a formal state of federal declaration of a natural disaster.” Therefore, any revision to the waiver guidelines will not affect those receiving benefits in Mississippi. 

“Our commitment to helping Mississippians rise from a state of crisis to a state of self-sufficiency is as devout now as ever,” said MDHS Executive Director Christopher Freeze. “That includes not only providing assistance for those in need, but also providing workforce development opportunities so people can secure good-paying jobs to sustain the quality of life they desire.”

In a news release earlier this week, Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith expressed her support for the rule, saying that it will restore the original intent of SNAP benefits. 

“President Trump and Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue promoted this rule as good government.  It will restore the original intent of SNAP benefits as a source of temporary assistance and save taxpayer dollars while ensuring those truly in need get help,” said Hyde-Smith, who serves on the Senate Agriculture Committee.

“There is dignity in having a job.  I hope this reform, combined with our strong economy, will encourage more people to rejoin the workforce,” she said.  “This rule will also curb abuses by some states that grant broad work requirement waivers despite low unemployment rates.”

According to USDA projections, the rule, which goes into effect in April 2020, would save the government $12.8 billion over 10 years.