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Nixon Reverses Course on Food Stamp Eligibility Change

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UPI/Bill Greenblatt

UPI/Bill Greenblatt

CBS St. Louis (con't)

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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (KMOX/AP) - Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon says his administration is withdrawing a proposal for rolling back an expansion of the food stamps program.

Since 2009, the state has qualified for a waiver allowing able-bodied adults without children to qualify for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program despite failing to meet federal work requirements. Officials had proposed changing eligibility rules to waive the work requirements only in counties where the unemployment rate is higher than 10 percent.

Nixon said Thursday he is directing the Social Services Department to withdraw the proposal. The governor says there now is greater certainty about federal funding for food stamps after last week’s budget agreement.

Missouri had about 915,000 people receiving food stamps in August. That’s down from a peak of nearly 962,000 in December 2011.

Two weeks ago, Sen. Jamilah Nasheed, D-St. Louis, said she and the Black Legislative Caucus would “vigorously oppose” Nixon’s changes to the program, calling them “nothing less than callous” and “an uncommonly cruel action.”

In a statement Thursday, Nasheed applauded the governor’s change of course.

“Reversing this decision and allowing the waiver to stand is, without a doubt, continuing the construction of a solid platform needed to raise needy Missourians back up so they stand on their own feet,” Nasheed wrote.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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