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Association Comments on Proposed Changes to Food Assistance Program

In a Sept. 20 letter to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), America’s Essential Hospitals expressed concern that changes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) could increase food insecurity and worsen health outcomes.

The letter was sent in response to a USDA proposed rule that would alter SNAP program eligibility requirements. Under current USDA regulations, states have flexibility in making SNAP eligibility determinations through categorical eligibility, a policy that allows SNAP enrollment for individuals who already qualify for other benefits, including temporary assistance for needy families (TANF). USDA proposes to narrow the set of TANF benefits that will confer categorical eligibility. The agency predicts 3.1 million people will lost access to SNAP benefits as a result of the change.

In the letter, America’s Essential Hospitals urged USDA not to finalize changes to SNAP eligibility requirements that will increase food insecurity and ultimately worsen health outcomes. Further, USDA should not implement changes that will create additional obstacles and further threaten the ability of vulnerable populations to access vital services.

Contact Senior Director of Policy Erin O’Malley at eomalley@essentialhospitals.org or 202.585.0127 with questions.

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About the Author

Rachel Schwartz is a policy associate at America's Essential Hospitals.

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