Koller told an obesity meeting that about 878,000 people in South Carolina receive about $1.4 billion in benefits each year through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, That program is administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and Koller said she had written to federal officials to ask them for a conversation about ways to change how the program is used in South Carolina.
Because SNAP is a federal program, Koller would need USDA permission to make any changes to it or place restrictions on purchases made in the state. Currently, alcohol and tobacco products are the only prohibited items, but Koller said she planned to ask the federal government for a waiver to cut the list of allowed items in South Carolina to healthy purchases.
Starting next month, a series of meetings will be held around the state to solicit public input on how the program should be changed.
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