Proposed Changes to SNAP will Overwhelmingly Harm Children

Today, the Trump Administration has proposed yet another rule that will make it harder for families with children to put food on the table. The administration is seeking to limit state options for Broad Based Categorical Eligibility (BBCE), which is an important tool that reduces red tape and administrative burden for low-income families enrolling in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) if the family is eligible for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) assistance. SNAP is a critically important support that helps families afford groceries when they are struggling to make ends meet, benefitting more than 18 million children who make up more than 43 percent of the program’s participants.

Thanks to BBCE, states can choose to eliminate or relax burdensome asset testing requirements and expand eligibility to families earning between 130 and 200 percent of the poverty line. Through this option, hundreds of thousands of low-income children have gained access to SNAP and received direct certification for free school meals. By limiting these options, the proposed rule for Categorical Eligibility is a direct attack on those children and their families with increased bureaucratic barriers that threaten their access to healthy, nutritious food both at home and at school. By the administration's admission, this rule would result in 7.4 percent of participating households with children to lose access to SNAP. The consequences of implementing this rule would be devastating, which is why Congress less than a year ago rejected a similar legislative proposal on an overwhelming bipartisan basis. Instead, they passed a Farm Bill that preserved access to SNAP—and free school meals—through this important tool.

“The administration is blatantly ignoring Congressional intent, and kids will undoubtedly be harmed,” said Bruce Lesley, president of First Focus on Children. “At a time when one-in-six children live in households with uncertain access to enough healthy food, this rule is a step in the wrong direction. First Focus Campaign for Children will do all it can to fight this administratively burdensome barrier.”

For more information or to schedule an interview with Bruce Lesley, text or call Michele Kayal at 703-919-8778.

First Focus on Children is a bipartisan advocacy organization dedicated to making children and families a priority in federal policy and budget decisions.

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