New bill would allow those with prior drug charges to receive SNAP benefits

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LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) — Currently, over a thousand Nebraskans face a similar issue, they aren’t allowed to apply for SNAP benefits.

“I’ve struggled financially, I have struggled with having healthy food on my table,” Derrick Martinez, an advocate for LB121,  “I’ve struggled with putting food on my table for my family.”

People who have prior convictions for drug possession, use, or distribution are banned for life from food assistance in the state.

To help overturn that law, which was put in place in 1996, Senator Megan Hunt has been pushing through LB121, which would eliminate that rule.

“In general, the people that we talked to are folks who are contributing to society, and have served their debt to society by going to prison,” Eric Savaiano, with Nebraska Appleseed said, “Finishing their probation and anything else that they’re required to do by the department of corrections. Now they’re being denied benefits from a human services agency, that is real purpose is to take care of the people of the state.”

Nebraska Appleseed has been a strong advocate for helping this bill get approved.

For Nebraskans like Martinez, who was convicted of a drug charge in 2009 and spent three years in prison, getting rid of this ban would mean a lot.

“I just hope everybody understands that we all need to eat,” Martinez said.

Those in opposition say to be eligible, those convicted should have to go to a treatment facility to show they are recovered.

Categories: Capitol News, News