Gillan: Farm Bill Will Not Effect Food Stamp Benefits on Guam

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Guam – Public Health Director James Gillan says that the new federal Farm Bill will not result in any reduction in food stamp benefits for Guam residents.

The Farm Bill was passed by the Senate Tuesday, after clearing the House last month. It is expected to be signed Friday by President Obama. 

Just over 46-thousand Guam residents receive food stamp benefits under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, known as SNAP.

Gillan initially feared that the new bill would reduce benifts for Guam resdients, but following consultations with SNAP officials in San Francisco, he has been re-assured that will not happen.

Gillan also provided PNC news with the following highlights of the 2014 Farm Bill:

Farm Bill 2014 highlights for SNAP:

· Prohibits cash payments for bottle deposits purchased with SNAP.
· Medical marijuana cannot be treated as a medical expense.
· LIHEA payments made to households in order to get automatic SUA must be greater than $20 annually.
· For students enrolled as part of E&T plan, qualifying classes are limited to career and technical education, remedial courses, basic adult education, literacy or ESL.
· Felons convicted of aggravated sexual abuse or murder (as defined) from the date of the Act are disqualified unless they comply with the terms of their parole.
· Households who receive “substantial” lottery or gambling winnings lose eligibility immediately upon receipt and remain ineligible until they meet allowable financial resources and income requirements. “Substantial” is not defined.  State SNAP agencies and state gaming agencies must share information  to ensure these households can be identified.
· CNMI – a study shall be conducted to be completed no more than 2 years from the date of the Act to assess the capabilities of CNMI to operate SNAP in a similar manner as the program is operated in the States and/or alternative models that best meet the needs of CNMI.   This would include assessment of their ability to issue EBT cards, operate a QC system, implement an E&T program and pay a share of administrative costs with non-Federal funds.