COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio Senate passed a bill that would require the state to verify each quarter whether recipients of Medicaid and food aid are eligible for the benefits they receive.

The state verifies eligibility just yearly right now.

House Bill 119 is among a slate of bills that up for vote in the final days of the 132nd Ohio General Assembly, which officially adjourns Dec. 31 but could likely be finished with its two-year session sooner.

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, is a federal program that the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services administers. In August, federal figures showed 1.4 million Ohioans in 706,000 households received food from SNAP, said Lisa Hamler-Fugitt of the Ohio Association of Food Banks, who was critical of the bill because she believes people will get kicked off the program.

The state determines eligibility and verifies data of people applying for or receiving SNAP and Ohio Medicaid.

However, HB 119 goes further, requiring information such as citizenship or alien status, Medical bills and whether anyone on the programs is disabled.

“It’ll preserve the programs for people who actually need it,” said Sen. Rob McColley, a Henry County Republican.

But Sen. Charleta Tavares, a Columbus Democrat, said the bill will cost the state and local job and family services agencies money.

“We’re trying to paint this picture that simply because someone needs food the amount of fraud is higher,” she said. “It’s ludicrous.”

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Senate passes bill requiring quarterly checks of SNAP, Medicaid eligibility –