Our students need us.
Last month, the federal government invited the public to comment on proposed policy changes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as food stamps), which is the first line of defense against hunger for low-income students, adults, and families.
Federal law limits able-bodied working adults without dependents (a category many college students fall into) to receiving food assistance just 3 months out of every 3 years unless they work an average of 20 hours/week. In 2016, at least 500,000 low-income individuals nationwide lost SNAP due to the time limit.
Join us to urge the federal government to eliminate this time limit rule, which threatens to cut off low-income individuals from food assistance. You can read our public comment here and submit your own comment by clicking here. ( Deadline April 9th). Need help forming a statement? Scroll down to copy and paste a comment that The Food Research and Action Center put together.
Thank you for the opportunity to comment on USDA’s Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on SNAP requirements and services for Able-Bodied Adults Without Dependents (ABAWDs).
Federal law limits SNAP eligibility for childless unemployed and underemployed adults age 18-50 (except for those who are exempt) to just three months out of every three years unless they are able to obtain and maintain an average of 20 hours a week of employment.
I care about the three-month time limit because this policy threatens to cut off food assistance to low-income college students who are unable to find a reliable 20-hour-a-week job.
Students have class schedules that many employers simply won’t accommodate. Working 20 hours a week is something many students wish they could do, but they can’t find sufficient work. Food insecurity is highest among students working 40+ hours a week and those who are unemployed but searching for work, as documented by research findings from the Wisconsin HOPE Lab.
It is very inefficient and expensive to cut students off from access to SNAP: it reduces the odds these students can complete their degrees and increases the chances that they will be unable to pay taxes and forced to lean on social programs for a much longer time.
I strongly oppose any administrative action by USDA that would expose more people to this cutoff policy. The only action I encourage USDA to take with respect to this time limit rule that impacts Able-Bodied Adults Without Dependents is to propose its elimination. Restoring SNAP’s ability to provide food assistance to impoverished unemployed and underemployed people would be a powerful policy improvement that would reduce food insecurity among those seeking work.