Thursday, August 22, 2019

Mayors oppose Trump administration proposal to take 3 million people off food stamps

By Bobby Gehlen, ABC News, Aug 21, 2019, 2:17 PM ET

The U.S. Conference of Mayors on Wednesday released a bipartisan letter signed by 70 mayors opposing the Trump administration’s proposal to cut 3 million people off food stamps through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

In the letter, the mayors expressed their strong objections to the Department of Agriculture proposal, arguing it would negatively impact individuals in their communities that rely on federal assistance programs. “As Mayors, we serve as the CEOs of the nation’s cities; and remain most concerned about any proposal that will reduce improvements to the health of our residents, weaken nutrition programs, deteriorate advances to healthy food access, and spur declines in local and regional economies.” the letter said.

The mayors said the SNAP program is essential in the fight against hunger and food insecurity while also assisting to bring people out of poverty. 

The administration proposal aims to close a loophole where individuals receiving minimal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) would not be automatically enrolled in the SNAP program as well. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said closing this loophole would prevent individuals from receiving federal funding for those who don’t need it. “For too long, this loophole has been used to effectively bypass important eligibility guidelines. Too often, states have misused this flexibility without restraint,” Perdue said in a USDA press release. 

The proposed plan would save an average of $2.5 billion per year, according to Acting Deputy Under Secretary Brandon Lipps. Republicans attempted to add work requirements for SNAP recipients in the 2018 Farm Bill, but after receiving backlash from Democrats, the bill did not include those provisions.

The USDA press release cites an example where a millionaire in Minnesota successfully enrolled in the SNAP program, to highlight the idea of who can be approved and why they are looking to close the loophole.

Monday, August 19, 2019

New Trump Food Stamp Rules Could Kick Entire Schools off Free Meals

The change at the Department of Agriculture could impact millions of children attending thousands of schools in poor districts.

By Morgan Baskin, VICE News

WASHINGTON — Thousands of public schools across the country could be automatically disqualified from a federal free breakfast and lunch program as a result of new policy proposed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, agency insiders and policy experts told VICE News.
A new rule proposed last month by the department would force applicants for food stamps to disclose all the benefits they receive from both the federal and state government. If the sum of their income and assets exceeds 130% of the poverty line — just under $33,000 annually for a family of four — applicants will no longer automatically qualify for food assistance.
For the full story

Fearing Trump’s New Crackdown, Immigrants Are Already Forgoing Food Stamps

The Trump administration’s new “public charge” rule is having its intended effect: collective punishment of immigrant communities...A new rule will give the Department of Homeland Security more authority to deny green cards to immigrants who appear likely to become dependent on government assistance. Read more here
Michelle Chen is a contributing writer at In These Times and The Nation, a contributing editor at Dissent and a co-producer of the "Belabored" podcast. 

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Government Supports are Responsible for Poverty Reductions

By Danilo Trisi, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

The poverty rate has fallen by nearly half since 1967, largely due to the growing effectiveness of economic security programs such as Social Security, food assistance, and tax credits for working families, according to a comprehensive poverty measure known as the anchored Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM). Unlike the official poverty measure, the SPM counts the value of tax credits and non-cash benefits such as food assistance and rent subsidies (among other methodological differences), as most analysts favor. Read the entire story here

See SEIU Local 668 President in Podcast Describing Trump Proposed Changes to SNAP

Please check out the attached link to hear a PBPC podcast outlining the Trump Administration’s proposed changes to SNAP eligibility.

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Don’t Let USDA Take Food Away from 3.1 Million Americans – Including over 100,000 Pennsylvanians...Sign up for Commenting "How-to" webinar

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.  
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 opposing the proposed rule.  Register here:

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Proposed SNAP Change Would Exacerbate Childhood Hunger

Lisa Davis, Share Our Strength, posted on 
One of our core values as a nation is the belief in opportunity – that every child has the chance to succeed and to achieve their dreams. But our kids can’t be hungry to learn when they’re just plain hungry.
When kids aren’t getting the nutrition they need to grow up healthy and strong, it exacerbates all other problems they face – diminishing their academic performance, mental and physical health and development and dimming opportunities to escape the cycle of poverty.
Unfortunately, the Administration’s recent proposed rule to roll back a policy known as Broad-Based Categorical Eligibility (BBCE) is a huge step back in the fight to end childhood hunger.
An estimated 3 million people – the majority of whom are low-income parents, seniors and people with disabilities – would lose Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits under this rule. In addition, more than 500,000 kids could lose free school meals, hitting them with the double whammy of lost meals at home and at school.
This rule will increase hunger and hardship, period. Read more here