Earlier this week, the Trump administration proposed a rule change for states determining eligibility for SNAP, also known as food stamps. An estimated 3.1 million Americans would be cut from SNAP every year. This is approximately 8% of the program’s participants.
The administration says it wants to close what they call a loophole that allows states to determine who is eligible for programs like SNAP by either raising or eliminating income and asset limits.
What does this mean?
States have the flexibility to increase or decrease those qualifications for SNAP depending on the family’s situation. This could be if a household income increases due to a raise.
SNAP participants should be encouraged towards a path of self-sufficiency but not be confronted with the “benefits cliff.” This results from public programs being phased down or out too quickly leading to an abrupt reduction or loss of benefits for families as household earnings increase, but not increased enough for self-sufficiency to be reached.
How will this impact the food bank?
For every meal that food banks like Second Harvest put into the community, SNAP puts out the equivalent of 12 meals! Regardless of the size of the food bank warehouse and the number of feeding partners, Second Harvest would be unable to meet the increased need in our community if programs like SNAP are cut.
Is that all?
The proposed rule will also change how families and individuals can sign up for other programs such as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), SNAP or even school meals in public schools.
Broad-based categorical eligibility allows for families and individuals who receive TANF to be automatically enrolled in SNAP based on their household gross income or asset levels. Additionally, if a family receives SNAP, all children in that family are automatically enrolled in free school meals in public schools.
Doing away with broad-based categorical eligibility will have an immediate impact on families who need school meals to ensure their children are receiving proper nutrition. Eliminating this efficiency will force families and individuals to apply for each program individually which increases administrative hurdles.
What can I do?
Tell your Congressional member how this rule will impact families in your community. Here are a few talking points:
- My community food bank will not be able to meet the increased need this cut will create. For every meal food banks put into the community, SNAP puts out 12 meals.
- Changing this rule will severely impact families with children who rely on free school meals to feed their children.
- SNAP puts food back into the hands of 672,000 Central Floridians every day.
- Public programs like SNAP should encourage participants to continue on a pathway to self-sufficiency not prevent participants from taking raises or higher-paying jobs.
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