Food Assistance for NJ’s Struggling Workers and Families at Risk

Protect Food Assistance for the Almost 880,000 New Jerseyans Who Rely on SNAP Each Month

Congress and the Trump Administration debated and renewed the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) through the farm bill at the end of 2018.  But the Trump Administration now proposes to implement through executive action what it failed to secure through legislation: taking away food assistance from struggling workers and families through harsh cuts and changes to SNAP.

SNAP is the cornerstone of the Nation’s nutrition assistance safety net. Benefits are available to most people who meet the financial and nonfinancial requirements, and the program serves a broad spectrum of low income people.

In Fiscal Year 2016, SNAP provided about $1.22 billion dollars in food benefits to a monthly average of 879,987 people in New Jersey. The program served 74.5 percent of those eligible for benefits in New Jersey in 2015. SNAP also has an economic multiplier effect; every dollar in new SNAP benefits results in $1.80 in total economic activity.

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) seeks public comments making clear that this proposed federal regulation would vastly increase food insecurity. The deadline to submit comments is Tuesday, April 2.  You can click here to started.

Federal law already limits SNAP benefits to just three months out of every three years for adults without dependent children unless they can document that they work at least 20 hours a week or that they meet an exemption. States can request waivers to temporarily suspend the time limit in areas with high unemployment. They also have a flexible but limited ability to exempt individuals such as those who lack a high school diploma or face other high barriers to finding steady work.

Now, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has proposed making the existing time limit even harsher.  USDA’s proposed rule would restrict states’ ability to waive these time limits in many areas where there are too few jobs and limit states’ flexible pool of individual exemptions.?By USDA’s own estimates, its proposal would eliminate SNAP benefits for 755,000 adults and cut SNAP benefits by $15 billion over 10 years.

Feeding America, the Food Research & Action Center, the Center for American Progress, and the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities are helping coordinate comments to oppose this rule.

Click here for more information.