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Don’t Let USDA Take Food Away from 3.1 Million Americans – Including over 100,000 Pennsylvanians.

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Don’t Let USDA Take Food Away from 3.1 Million Americans – Including over 100,000 Pennsylvanians.

Families Should Be Able to Take a Raise, Work More Hours, or Save for a Rainy Day Without Risking Losing their Food Assistance Overnight.

The USDA has proposed a Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) rule that would make over 3 million Americans ineligible for SNAP benefits.  The rule would severely cut back a longstanding state option – called “Broad Based Categorical Eligibility” -- and:

  1. Stop states from increasing the gross income limit that a family can have and still receive SNAP if they have very high expenses. 
    • Pennsylvania has used this option to increase the SNAP gross income limit from 130% of the poverty level( $2,252 a month for a family of 3) to 160% of the poverty level,    
    • Pennsylvania’s rule means that families do not lose all their SNAP when they get a raise that moves their income from just below to just above 130% of poverty.  The rule creates a “cliff effect” that can make families worse off if they get a raise.
    • Under PA’s rule, families’ net income must still be below nationwide limits. 
  2. Stop states from eliminating the SNAP asset test, as Pennsylvania has done.  The USDA proposal would reinstate a nationwide limit of $2,250 for families, and $3,500 for households with a senior or person with a disability. 
    • Asset limits trap people in poverty by preventing them from saving for a rainy day.  They also penalize low-income families who do save by making them ineligible for the food assistance they need to get by.
    • Checking assets adds expensive red tape. 

For more detailed information on the rule, please see this article from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

Those at risk need our help!

Join our webinar on Thursday, September 5 at 11:00 a.m. to learn how you can submit a comment to the USDA opposing the proposed rule.  You can register here.

If you can't attend the webinar, you can still leave a comment! Comments must be received before September 23, 2019. You can submit your comment, and find other resources to craft your message at this website.

Important reminders:

  • Comments must be unique, or they will not be counted
  • Be sure to modify the language in model comments so that at least one-third of it reflects your own thoughts and experiences
  • Encourage everyone you know who cares about hunger to submit a comment – the more comments the better!
  • Using the online comments tool makes this easy -- it will only take a few minutes of your time.