You Can Help Protect SNAP Benefits

In December 2017, our current presidential administration passed sweeping tax reform legislation, giving massive tax cuts to corporations and the wealthiest Americans, which created a $1.5 trillion deficit. Now, in an attempt to pay for those cuts, they are looking to chip away at social safety net programs (like SNAP) designed to help our country’s most vulnerable citizens.

How you can help

We need you to speak out against damaging changes to SNAP

The USDA is asking for public comment on the proposed changes. We need you to voice your opinion of opposition! Whether you write one sentence or 10 pages, the most important thing in this case is the sheer number of comments that USDA receives.

Submit Comment

The deadline for comments is April 9.

Talking points:

  • I am writing to oppose stricter time limits to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
  • There are already strict rules for people who don’t have children or dependents (able bodied adults without dependents – ABAWDs) to get food assistance through SNAP.
  • We should not make the existing harsh rules even worse by taking away state flexibility or exposing more people to time-limited benefits.
  • Increasing the ability of USDA to deny state waivers for easing SNAP time limits and expanding the number of people these strict rules apply to will only increase the number of people facing hunger in this country.
  • Add your personal story. If you or someone you know has been helped by SNAP, please include with your comments.

Proposed Changes to SNAP

Current federal regulations prohibit childless adults aged 18-50, known as Able-Bodied Adults Without Dependents, (ABAWDS) from receiving SNAP benefits for more than three months out of every three years, unless they are able to find a reliable 20-hour-a-week job or volunteer for 20 hours each month.

At least 500,000 ABAWDS lost their SNAP benefits in 2016 because they were unable to secure steady employment within the three-month time limit. This population includes:

  • veterans returning from combat who may dealing with injuries or PTSD
  • children aging out of the foster care system
  • people who have been laid off and are unable to find a new job in their geographic location due to lack of available jobs or transportation.

States are currently able to apply for waivers to the three-month rule for ABAWDS in areas where there is high unemployment. The ability to apply for waivers, established by the USDA in 2001, gives states flexibility and helps mitigate the harsh impact of the three-month rule.  The current rules are clear which geographic areas qualify for waivers, and states have a straightforward and transparent process for applying.

This already harsh rule is about to get even worse.

Under the current administration, the USDA wants to reconsider this process and to make it harder for states to get waivers from the time limit for regions with elevated unemployment. This would adversely impact thousands of ABAWDs by eliminating their SNAP benefits.

More information

Learn about ABAWD

Learn about waivers

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Pass this info to friends and family and ask them to comment.

For questions and more info contact lauras@foodbankwma.org