In July 2019, the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service published a proposed rule that would tighten the requirements for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) that could end food assistance for 3 million Americans.
The intent of SNAP is to provide a lifeline for people as they work to become self-sufficient. Building assets and increasing income is what becoming self-sufficient means. The restrictive income and assets tests being considered in the above-referenced rule change violate the intent of SNAP to support low-income working families and promote asset-building among those households. The Administration estimates the change would terminate SNAP eligibility for more than 3 million individuals. People losing access to SNAP would mainly be working families, seniors, and people with disabilities.
Having reliable transportation is critical to enabling a working family to reach their jobs (as well as school, health care, and food). The changes contemplated in this revision mean that a family of four could not own a car costing more than $4,650. As a nonprofit organization providing low-income people with financial education and mentoring and affordable loans for reliable cars, On the Road Lending knows that working families must have reliable cars to keep their jobs and increase their income. Limiting them to cars valued at $4,650 will hurt them financially, putting them in the position of owning older, polluting, unreliable cars with costly repairs. A widely known root cause of poverty is in lack of transportation options. People who have their own reliable cars are twice as likely to get good jobs and four times as likely to keep them as those without.
It is a myth that low-income people cannot afford better vehicles. We routinely make car loans for low-income working families on fuel-efficient, reliable cars under warranty for $15,000, and they are successful in making payments on these loans. If the income and asset test changes contemplated in this revision are not enacted, SNAP recipients can still earn 165% of the federal poverty level (approximately $42,000 for a family of four) and own a car worth $15,000, without losing the SNAP benefits that their families need.
The public has until September 23, 2019 to submit comments regarding the proposed rule change. We ask you to send this email as a letter or your own comments to speak up for hardworking people who are trying to better their lives.
Submit a comment today:
Send a letter today:
Program Design Branch
Program Development Division, Food and Nutrition Service, USDA
3101 Park Center Drive
Alexandria, VA 22302
Refer to Docket ID Number [FNS-2018-0037], “Revision of Categorical Eligibility in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance.”
Copy your U.S. Representative and U.S. Senator today:
For contact information, visit https://www.texastribune.org/directory/#congress