Almost a quarter of the people in New Mexico rely on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program—about 448,000. And the Human Services Department is once again calling for more work search and volunteer hours or job training for recipients. Opponents say the rule changes are confusing.
Louise Pocock is a staff attorney with the New Mexico Center on Law and Poverty. "Our concern is that if the rules are not very clear about what people have to do and what time they have to fulfill those requirements, more people will lose SNAP incorrectly," she said.
HSD spokesperson Matt Kennicott says people with kids 6 and up would only have to meet work search requirements.
Pocock says none of that’s in writing. "As the rule is written now, there’s nothing that guarantees the right to parents only to be limited to job search or to choose alternative activities if they want," she said.
The first phase of the new rules is supposed to go into effect in October.
Read the proposed rule change and a draft of the state’s plan for next year at publichealthnm.org.