Florida could cut off food stamps to more than 200,000

In this photo taken Saturday, Feb. 6, 2010, a sign announcing the acceptance of electronic Benefit Transfer cards is seen at a farmers market in Roseville, Calif. Currently food stamp recipients have had problems purchasing food at farmer's markets because many of them do not accept the EBT cards that food stamp recipients use to buy groceries. A bill currently in the legislature would change that by helping farmers markets overcome bureaucratic hurdles to obtain the equipment needed to read the benefit cards.(AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) – Florida could cut off food stamps for more than 200,000 residents – including children and seniors – under a measure now moving ahead in the Legislature.

Republicans backing the move say that now that the economy is improving it’s time to change eligibility requirements to the way it was prior to the Great Recession. A bill authorizing the change has made it through two House committees, although a companion bill has yet to be considered by the Florida Senate.

Democrats questioned whether the economy has recovered enough for those in most need.

Food stamps are paid by the federal government, but legislators have some control over eligibility. The House bill (HB 581) would limit food stamps to families that earn less than 130 percent of the federal poverty limit or $2,633 a month for a family of four.

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