TRUMP ADMINISTRATION PROPOSES RULE THAT WOULD TAKE SNAP BENEFITS AWAY FROM 3.1 MILLION AMERICANS
July 24, 2019 — Today, Oregon Food Bank and Partners for a Hunger-Free Oregon issued the following joint statement in response to the directive issued by the Trump administration and the U. S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) proposed rule change which would curtail SNAP categorical eligibility (“cat el”), resulting in the loss of SNAP (or, food stamps) benefits for 3.1 million Americans.
“Why would the U.S. Department of Agriculture propose a rule that puts 3.1 million American’s at risk for being hungry?” asks Susannah Morgan, CEO Oregon Food Bank. “The families most likely to lose benefits are usually working, sometimes more than one job, saving a little, and earning modestly more than the standard eligibility level. Most of these families face high living expenses like rent, childcare, transportation, and food.”
“This proposed change would take food away from families in Oregon, make it harder for kids to get school meals, and add red tape and inefficiency to a program that is working well,” says Annie Kirschner, Executive Director, Partners for a Hunger-Free Oregon. “Every community would be hurt by this. The administration needs to listen to Oregonians who care.”
The USDA announced yesterday a proposed rule change that would restrict states’ use of the SNAP categorical eligibility provision. The proposed rule change was published today in the Federal Register, kicking off a 60-day public comment period, ending on September 23.
The proposed rule change would prevent Oregon from allowing households with incomes up to 185 percent of the federal poverty limit (FPL) or modest assets to apply for SNAP (these households, like all SNAP applicants, have to show a net income at or below 100 percent of FPL after accounting for living expenses). For a one-person household, this an annual income of $23,106, for a family of four, $47,638.
Oregon Department of Human Services estimates that tens of thousands of SNAP participants who live in every county across the state would lose their benefits, reducing SNAP funds to the state by more than $3 million each month. Losing these funds would have a significant negative economic effect on all Oregon communities as each dollar in SNAP benefits creates $1.79 in economic activity. These dollars support a range of enterprises including grocery stores, farmer’s markets, and other businesses.
Nationwide, USDA estimates 3.1 million people would lose SNAP benefits, missing out on about $3.5 billion a year in food assistance. Because SNAP eligibility qualifies children for free school meals, it’s estimated that 260,000 children will lose those meals.
About Oregon Food Bank
Oregon Food Bank works to eliminate hunger and its root causes… because no one should be hungry. Oregon Food Bank believes that hunger starves the human spirit, that communities thrive when people are nourished, and that everyone deserves healthy and fresh food. Oregon Food Bank helps feed the human spirit of 260,000 people every month through a food distribution network of 21 regional food banks serving Oregon and Clark County, Washington. Oregon Food Bank also leads statewide efforts to increase resources for hungry families and to eliminate the root causes of hunger through public policy, local food systems work, nutrition and garden education, health care screening and innovative programming. Find out how to feed the human spirit at oregonfoodbank.org
About Hunger-Free Oregon
The nonprofit Partners for a Hunger-Free Oregon believes that all Oregonians have the right to be free from hunger. Hunger-Free Oregon raises awareness about hunger, connects people to nutrition programs like SNAP and school meals, and advocates for systemic changes to end hunger in Oregon. We convene the state’s Hunger Task Force to research the status of hunger and layout a plan of action to tackle the root causes. When 1 in 5 kids are food insecure and communities of color face hunger at even higher rates, we must all work together for bold change. Learn more at oregonhunger.org
Laura J. Recko
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