Proposed SNAP rule would cut benefits for 3.1 million Americans
Food assistance helps reduce food instability and contributes to a healthy Nebraska
Lincoln, NE – Today, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) proposed a regulatory change that will harm 3.1 million people, including working families with children, the elderly and people with disabilities. The proposed rule would dramatically alter “categorical eligibility,” which currently gives states the flexibility to modestly increase SNAP income eligibility and adopt less restrictive asset limits.
The proposed rule would substantially change categorical eligibility by making it more difficult for households to qualify for SNAP. In Nebraska, this means reestablishing a restrictive asset limit of $3,500 for many seniors and those with disabilities, forcing them to choose between food support and their small savings.
“The proposed rule would be harmful for Nebraskans and households across our nation,” said James Goddard, Director of the Economic Justice Program at Nebraska Appleseed. “The administration should focus on increasing wages and creating better jobs for low-paid families, rather than punishing them for working a few more hours.”
The rule would also make it more difficult for Nebraska to address the “cliff effect” in SNAP, where a small raise or a new job can cause people to lose food support. Although Nebraska has yet to take advantage of this option, Legislative Bill 255 is currently pending before the Legislature’s Health and Human Services Committee, and would extend categorical eligibility.
“It is important to remember that all households, including those that are categorically eligible, must apply for and be found eligible in order to receive SNAP benefits. All beneficiaries have their income and resources reviewed by the state and the proposed change is an additional unnecessary barrier,” said Goddard. “We will voice our concerns and provide comments on the proposed regulation, in opposition to the changes the rule would impose. We encourage Nebraskans to submit a comment in support of our communities fighting food insecurity.”
Facts about SNAP and its substantial benefits:
- In Nebraska, 74% of SNAP participants are in families with children; almost 29% are in families with members who are eldery or disabled;
- SNAP has a positive impact on rural communities and local small businesses;
- Every $1 spent in SNAP generates $1.70 in economic activity.