April 3rd 2018
- 1. USDA Accepting Comments on Proposal to Cut Food Aid from People Not Working 20 Hours Per Week
- 2. Trump Administration Prepares Rules To Punish Immigrants Who Legally Receive Benefits
- 3. Bill to Raise Payments for Seniors and Disabled in California Moves to Human Services Committee April 10
- 4. LA Times: Bringing Meals to People With Food Insecurity Can Save Healthcare Costs
1. USDA Accepting Comments on Proposal to Cut Food Aid from People Not Working 20 Hours Per Week
Currently the rules for SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or “food stamps”) require that jobless, childless adults from age 18 to 50, called “Able Bodied Adults Without Dependents” must work 20 hours a week in order to get any more than 3 months of food assistance in a 36 month period.
Exemptions from this strict rule can be enacted on a statewide or regional basis for each state, usually due to high unemployment or lack of jobs in certain fields of employment. During the recession many states passed exemptions so that people could get the help they needed. California is currently operating under an exemption.
The US Department of Agriculture is currently considering a new rule that would make it more difficult for states to exempt these adults. The result will be many more thousands of people unable to get assistance, causing needless suffering and also sabotaging local efforts to help the poor. For example, many people in this group are homeless. While LA City and LA County are investing funds to help them get housing, the enforcement of these restrictions on SNAP assistance will mean that many of them will continue to go hungry even if they’re lucky enough to be housed.
Think of the thousands of jobless adults now homeless and trying to get work. How many do you think will realistically be able to find 20 hours of work per week while homeless? How much will the County and City’s investment be sabotaged if they can find housing for people, but they go hungry due to these new restrictions?
The Department of Agriculture is accepting public comments on this new rule. Exercise your democratic rights while we still have them, and submit your comments!
Feeding America has set up an advocacy page to make it easier for you to submit comments
Take Action: Oppose the stricter time limits: Thanks to Feeding America for this. Click link below.
2. Trump Administration Prepares Rules To Punish Immigrants Who Legally Receive Benefits
Immigrants to the U.S. who are looking to upgrade from a work permit to become a permanent legal resident (or “green card”) have long been subject to a consideration called “Public Charge”, in which an immigration officer can deny them permanent residency if they think the immigrant will use lots of benefits and not be working. In recent years, this rule was clarified to focus mostly on cash benefits, and not on health care or food benefits like SNAP.
Now, proposed changes from the Department of Homeland Security would broaden the government’s definition of benefits to include the widely used earned-income tax credit as well as health insurance subsidies and other “non-cash public benefits.” It also would apply to families who have citizen children, born right here in the USA.
The inclusion of Earned Income Credit is especially harsh and nonsensical. You have to work in order to get that payment (that’s why it’s called EARNED Income Credit.) Someone who is working is exactly the opposite of someone who should be regarded as a liability to the state.
The proposed rule from Department of Human Services will be open at some point for public comment. This proposal comes during a week of anti-immigrant actions characterized by Trump twitter rants stating that DACA has ended, and new rules punishing judges who don’t deport immigrants enough immigrants quickly enough plus threats against Mexico.
Center for Law and Social Policy director Olivia Golden submitted this op ed:
3. Bill to Raise Payments for Seniors and Disabled in California Moves to Human Services Committee April 10
Thanks to St. Anthony Foundation for setting up this legislative advocacy tool.
Your voice is needed!
California Assemblymembers Ash Kalra, Blance Rubio (West Covina), Eloise Gomez Reyes, Tony Thurmond and others have introduced a bill, AB 3200, that would address poverty among SSI recipients (low-income seniors and people living with disabilities) by reinstating the Cost of Living Adjustments that were removed from the grant during the recession and by increasing grant levels so that they are no longer below the Federal Poverty Level. This bill is currently under consideration by the Assembly Human Services Committee. Members of this committee need to hear from us about why this bill is important and why they should vote "yes" on it.
SSI/SSP is funded jointly by the federal and state governments to provide income support to seniors and people with disabilities. During the years of the recession, SSI/SSP grants were cut drastically by the state of California. These cuts were never fully restored, though our state's economy has recovered. Current SSI/SSP grants for single Californians are $910.72 per month, only 90% of the Federal Poverty Level, and significantly less than the actual income level needed for self-sufficiency.
You can use this form at the link below to email members of the California Assembly Human Services Committee and ask them to vote "yes" on AB 3200 because California seniors and people with disabilities deserve to be able to live with dignity. Please feel free to customize the wording of the email - repetitive form letters are not as impactful as messages that are written in your own words.
4. LA Times: Bringing Meals to People With Food Insecurity Can Save Healthcare Costs
Melissa Healy in the LA Times writes about a study from Massachusetts that “suggests that making regular deliveries of meals to people who were deemed "food insecure" drove down their use of costly medical services such as emergency department visits, ambulance calls and, in some cases, hospital admissions.”
In the Massachusetts study, “In one group they followed, 133 people got five days' worth of lunches, dinners and snacks delivered once a week. These meals were tailored to their individual medical needs, such as diabetes, kidney disease and digestive problems.” They and another group that received meals had “70% fewer emergency department visits and fewer than half as many hospital admissions” compared to a group that had to fend for itself for meals.
Hunger Action LA advocate Ronald Nagby, who receives SSI, has explained to us, and to state legislators, that funding for a fresher, healthier diet would help him avoid costly visits to the hospital for diabetes episodes and visits to the endocrinologist. Now it looks like this study confirms his personal experience.
Such a study would seem to further validate programs like Market Match being offered at over 300 farmers markets in California, and other Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive Programs being offered at neighborhood stores in Los Angeles through the Healthy Neighborhood Market Network; and to validate an increase in the State Supplemental Payment for SSI recipients (who cannot receive SNAP benefits, in California): and for the state’s California Nutrition Incentive Program fund to expand to cover SSI recipients as well as CalFresh recipients.