The Trump administration published a proposed rule in the Federal Register on July 23 that would end “broad-based categorical eligibility” for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). If implemented, as many as 3 million low-income people would be kicked off the program, and 1.5 million children would no longer qualify for free school meals.
Broad-based categorical eligibility automatically qualifies families receiving benefits through the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program for SNAP benefits as well. Additionally, for low-income families with incomes modestly above SNAP benefit limits, broad-based categorical eligibility standards allow SNAP-administering agencies to consider expenses that make up a large share of income, such as rent, utilities, and childcare, when determining benefit eligibility and amounts. States are also able to opt-out of federal asset testing limits and adopt their own less restrictive asset tests for eligibility. Children in families receiving SNAP benefits automatically qualify for free school lunches, effectively streamlining the application process and ensuring that children in low-income families can receive nutritious meals during the school day.
Over 40 states currently use broad-based categorical eligibility to provide SNAP benefits to a greater number of low-income families. Eliminating asset testing also allows these families to save money without fear of being removed from the program. Under the proposed rule, 3 million families currently receiving SNAP benefits would no longer qualify for the program, and 1.5 million children would no longer receive free school lunches.
The proposed rule is subject to a 60-day comment period beginning on July 24. The Food Research and Action Center (FRAC) is leading a comment campaign encouraging organizations and individuals to write in opposition to the proposal. NLIHC opposes the rule and encourages advocates to submit comments against it.
Participate in FRAC’s comment campaign at: https://bit.ly/30Rlva4
Read FRAC’s full statement: https://bit.ly/2YmPLvX
Read the proposed rule: https://bit.ly/2Y179He