On December 4th, the Trump administration finalized a rule tightening work requirements for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) projects that the final rule will cut $5.48 billion in nutrition supports for SNAP recipients in the next 5 years resulting in approximately 700,000 people losing access to the basic resources we all need to live healthy and thrive.
The APHSA aims to influence policies that support the health and well-being of all people that lead to stronger communities. Unfortunately, this rule strongly conflicts with our mission as well as the values that our members — state and local health and human services agencies — seek to advance. SNAP is a key building block to improve nutrition and provide important bridge supports for those affected by job loss and other unexpected life setbacks. SNAP is also a key element to prevent more destabilizing and costly problems down the road in health, nutrition, family stability, and independence. In addition to lifting up individuals and families, SNAP is a strong economic driver in our communities; every dollar in SNAP spending leads to an increase in GDP between $0.80 and $1.50.
This new rule also limits the flexibility that state and local leaders have to respond to local and regional economic downturns and to meet the needs of individuals and their communities. Responding to unemployment and economic disruptions in communities remains an issue best understood and addressed by state and local leaders.
It is important that local, state, and federal leaders work together to provide meaningful work opportunities for all people. By USDA’s own analysis, more than 700,000 individuals will not maintain access to SNAP benefits — including youth transitioning from the child welfare system, young adults experiencing homelessness, and workers unable to find full-time employment. Despite this new rule, which is set to take effect on April 1, 2020, APHSA continues to advocate for federal policies that lay the foundation for all people in our country to live healthy and thrive.
To review comments submitted by APHSA and our affinity group, the American Association of SNAP Directors (AASD), related to this rule and others impacting access and eligibility to SNAP, please visit our Policy page.