NM Catholic Bishops: SNAP work requirement program 'unconscionable'

Updated: 08/14/2014 3:40 PM | Created: 08/14/2014 3:38 PM
By: Blair Miller,

The New Mexico Conference of Catholic Bishops released a statement Thursday blasting the state legislature's possible plan to require 20 hours of work a week to qualify for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

"These administrators believe they are acting in the state's best interests, and in a strong economy their idea might be defensible. However, in one of the worst economies since the Great Depression, it is unconscionable."

Human Services Secretary Sidonie Squier told a congressional panel in July that she was "pretty sure New Mexico is going to be involved" in the work requirement program.

"The administration of the State wants to deny food benefits to those who cannot find a job in a market that isn't producing any," the Conference of Catholic Bishops said in a release.

New Mexico ranks 48th out of all states in job growth, and U.S. Representative Michelle Lujan Grisham, D-Albuquerque, noted in July that the city is still in the midst of a double dip recession.

The state currently provides food stamps to 400,000 New Mexicans.

New Mexico would have to apply for the work requirement program. The Human Services Department says it's still considering whether or not to apply.

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