CONNECTICUT CONGRESSIONAL DELEGATION BLASTS NEW TRUMP ADMINISTRATION PROPOSED RULE THAT WOULD CUT SNAP BENEFITS TO CONNECTICUT FAMILIES

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), along with U.S. Representatives John Larson (CT-1), Rosa DeLauro (CT-2), Jim Himes (CT-3), Joe Courtney (CT-4) and Jahana Hayes (CT-5) sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Agriculture urging the Trump administration to rescind its harmful new proposed rule that makes changes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). The new rule bars the expansion of benefits to families living above 130 percent of the federal poverty line. The rule would specifically harm states like Connecticut with high cost of living and would force Connecticut to re-impose an asset limit test on most SNAP participants. Tens of thousands of individuals and families in Connecticut would see their benefits decrease or lose them completely under this new rule. 

“As a result of these changes, this rule would mean that over 57,000 Connecticut individuals—including working families, children, senior citizens, and disabled individuals—would see a decrease or a loss of SNAP benefits,” the members wrote. 

“SNAP is a critical lifeline for low-wage workers, families with young children, those who are in-between jobs, and families that have high expenses that leave them with little to no income available for food,” the members added. 

The full text of the letter can be viewed here and below: 

Brandon Lipps

Deputy Under Secretary

Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Service

U.S. Department of Agriculture 

Certification Policy Branch

Program Development Division

Food and Nutrition Service

3101 Park Center Drive

Alexandria, VA 22302 

Dear Deputy Undersecretary Lipps:

 

We write in strong opposition to the Revision of Categorical Eligibility in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and urge you to abandon this proposal because it would cause tens of thousands of our constituents to lose access to the SNAP benefits and it is directly contrary to bipartisan Congressional intent. 

This proposed rule dramatically curtails our state’s ability to assist families in need. First, it bars the expansion of SNAP benefits to families living above 130 percent of the federal poverty line. Connecticut, which has some of the highest cost of living in the country, allows certain individuals who earn up to 185 percent of the federal poverty level to enroll in SNAP. This allows low-income working families who struggle with costly monthly expenses like rent or child care to get help putting food on the table. Secondly, the proposed rule would force Connecticut to re-impose an asset limit test on most SNAP participants. By discouraging SNAP participants from saving, this policy runs in direct contrast to SNAP’s mission to increase self-sufficiency since additional assets help low-income families better deal with unexpected expenses or other financial challenges.[1] As a result of these changes, this rule would mean that over 57,000 Connecticut individuals—including working families, children, senior citizens, and disabled individuals—would see a decrease or a loss of SNAP benefits.[2] 

The Administration’s assumption that individuals are receiving SNAP benefits “when they clearly don’t need it” is incorrect. SNAP is a critical lifeline for low-wage workers, families with young children, those who are in-between jobs, and families that have high expenses that leave them with little to no income available for food. Even under broad-based categorical eligibility, applicants must go through the regular SNAP benefit determination process in order to qualify and only about 0.2 percent of SNAP benefits go to households with disposable incomes above the federal poverty line.[3] 

In addition, we are especially concerned about the impact the proposed rule will have on children. Approximately 30,685 SNAP recipients with children would lose their SNAP benefits under this change.[4] As a result, these children—as well as a half a million children nationally—are at risk of losing Free and Reduced Price school meals. This outcome is deeply concerning as research has consistently shown that SNAP has a positive impact on children’s health, academic achievement, and long-term earning potential. 

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[1] Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. “SNAP’s ‘Broad-Based Categorical Eligibility’ Supports Working Families and Those Saving for the Future. July 30 2019. Retrieved from https://www.cbpp.org/research/food-assistance/snaps-broad-based-categorical-eligibility-supports-working-families-and.

[2] Mathematica. Fiscal Year 2016 SNAP Quality Control sample. September 3 2019. Retrieved from https://public.tableau.com/profile/mathematica#!/vizhome/ImpactofBBCEProposalonSNAPCaseloads/BBCEDashboard.

[3] ACT Center for Equity in Learning. “Creating Safe Schools: Examining Student

Perceptions of Their Physical Safety at School.” August 2019. Retrieved from https://www.act.org/content/act/en/research/reports/act-publications/school-safety-report.html.

[4] Mathematica. Fiscal Year 2016 SNAP Quality Control sample. September 3 2019. Retrieved from https://public.tableau.com/profile/mathematica#!/vizhome/ImpactofBBCEProposalonSNAPCaseloads/BBCEDashboard.