People who are getting food assistance through the program called SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) in Cuyahoga and 11 other counties are now exempt from a work requirement. The state expanded the list of exempted counties because they had unemployment rates 20 percent higher than the national rate.
Those counties include Ashtabula, Brown, Crawford, Clinton, Cuyahoga (Cleveland), Erie, Hocking, Loraine, Lucas (Toledo), Richland, Ross, and Vinton.
The move comes on the heels of a study conducted by The Center for Community Solutions in Cleveland. That study found that the counties initially exempted from the work requirement were concentrated in southeast Ohio where there are few minorities.
“That raises the question of racial disparities and that minority families and African Americans who might be just as likely to experience joblessness in Ohio's big cities aren't getting this leniency in the work requirement piece and may still be required to work to receive their food stamps.”
Center for Community Solutions policy and planning assistant Adam White says the center is bringing awareness to the discrepancy as Ohio pushes for similar work requirements for Medicaid recipients.