The Trump Administration once again sidesteps Congress with a proposal that would take food off the tables of working families with young children, seniors with modest savings accounts, and people living with disabilities.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has proposed another rule that would make it harder for people to access the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as food stamps). If this rule passes, 3.1 million people will lose their SNAP benefits, including 90,000 of our neighbors in Massachusetts.
The Greater Boston Food Bank (GBFB) opposes any action that will increase food insecurity in our communities. Read our full press statement here and GFBB President and CEO Catherine D’Amato’s Boston Globe’s Letter to the Editor.
What does this rule do?
The rule would eliminate “Categorical Eligibility,” which allows states to provide SNAP benefits to people who earn up to 200% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) but still experience financial difficulties.
Forty states have used this waiver for more than 20 years, and Congress most recently upheld this option in the bipartisan 2018 Farm Bill.
This proposed rule would increase food insecurity for millions of children, seniors and working families. If passed, 3.1 million people will lose their SNAP benefits, including 90,000 of our neighbors in Massachusetts.
This rule change would also take free school meals away from hundreds of thousands of children whose enrollment is linked to their families’ SNAP participation.
How would MA be impacted?
Thousands of low-income families struggle to balance the costs of housing, child care services, health care, and other necessities in Massachusetts–one of the most expensive states in the country. According to the MIT Living Wage calculator, a family of four must earn more than $79,000 just to afford their basic needs in Suffolk County.
Current rules allow Massachusetts to adjust for these overwhelming costs, so that families can continue to receive critical food assistance through SNAP. (The same family would have to earn less than $52,000 a year to be eligible for SNAP benefits — a meager $1.40 per person per meal.)
What can YOU do?
USDA must read and answer every unique comment they receive on this proposal. So, we need your help: Tell USDA that this rule change will only lead to more people going hungry in our country.
Join GBFB in speaking out against these harmful changes before the comment deadline on September 23!
Here’s how to take action:
1. Submit formal comments on behalf of your organization.
2. Spread the Word.
There’s no doubt; this rule would worsen food insecurity in our communities.
We need your help to demonstrate widespread opposition to this deeply troubling rule that would limit state flexibility to administer SNAP in a way that fits each state’s unique population and economic circumstances.
Thank you for your advocacy for our neighbors in need.