April 18, 2018
- 1. SNAP, America’s Food Program for the Poor, Is Under Attack from Several Directions
- 2. Bill to Raise Payments for Seniors and Disabled in California Passes Human Services Committee
- 3. Hunger Action LA: Anti Hunger Advocacy Training Monday April 30 6-7:30 PM in Koreatown
1. SNAP, America’s Food Program for the Poor, Is Under Attack from Several Directions
The Trump Administration and Congress have both made a priority of setting out to cut huge amounts from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the program formerly known as food stamps. While many of the changes are pitched as ways of getting more people to work, there’s far more evidence that the plan is for new rules that people simply can’t comply with due to the lack of available jobs in their area for which they’re qualified. The result will be millions of people losing food assistance and increasing misery in the U.S.
Congressional Farm Bill: The House Agriculture committee is preparing a Farm Bill for a vote by the full House of Representatives. While the Farm Bill is usually a bipartisan effort, the Committee ignored the objections of Democrats to new rules changes proposed that are pitched as a way to get people “off welfare into work”, but are in fact a cynical way to cut billions of dollars from food assistance to poor people in the US.
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.
The Farm Bill proposal by Congressional Republicans increases the age of those who must fill these work requirements to age 60, and also requires people whose children are 6 years old or over to comply with the restrictions.
Millions of people could lose food assistance under these new restrictions: think how difficult it is for people between age 50 and 60 to get a job. Although the bill supposedly provides funds for workfare slots to enable people to maintain their eligibility, the amount budgeted in that area is so small it wouldn’t even cover the cost of a bus pass for participants.
From Bread for the World:
Meanwhile the Trump administration has issued an executive order calling on all departments to design ways to restrict benefits from the same group (able bodied childless adults) regardless of the availability of actual jobs in their area.
A separate idea floated by the White House would allow some states to drug test people receiving food aid before they can receive benefits---a return to the days of humiliating people before they can receive even non-cash assistance.
The AP reports: “The proposal under review would be narrowly targeted, applying mostly to people who are able-bodied, without dependents and applying for some specialized jobs, according to an administration official briefed on the plan. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations, said roughly 5 percent of participants in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program could be affected”.
Finally, the Trump administration wants to broaden the definition of “Public Charge” ,referring to the concept of denying immigrants who are legally here the right to become Permanent Legal Residents based on the idea that they have used government benefits and will therefore be a liability to the country. The Trump proposal would add SNAP food assistance and health care coverage onto the list of “Public Charge” benefits, which currently are broadly considered to be only cash welfare benefits. The proposed new definition even includes receipt of the Earned Income Credit---a payment you can’t even receive unless you are working!
2. Bill to Raise Payments for Seniors and Disabled in California Passes Human Services Committee
California Assemblymembers Ash Kalra, Blanca 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 has to go through several committees before getting full votes in both the state Assembly and state Senate.
AB 3200 jumped its first big hurdle with passage through the Assembly Human Services Committee on April 10, chaired by Assemblymember Blanca Rubio of West Covina. The vote was 7 to 0.
The rooms at the state Capitol were packed with SSI recipients and their advocates who have worked together for several years now to improve SSI/SSP benefits in California. Currently most recipients in the program, who are blind elderly or disabled, have to survive on $915 per month, which is supposed to pay for all of their housing, food, transportation and out of pocket medical expenses.
Stay tuned for more information on the next phases of this campaign
3. Hunger Action LA: Anti Hunger Advocacy Training Monday April 30 6-7:30 PM in Koreatown
Join us for a free training to:
- Learn about the changes in national policy affecting the programs that provide food to the hungry in the U.S.
- Become part of the state campaign for California to help increase resources for its elderly, disabled and blind population
- Learn how to follow legislation, set up meetings and speak to your elected officials about hunger
- Meet a lot of really cool people!
When: Monday April 30, 6 pm to 7:30 pm
Where: St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, 961 S Mariposa Ave LA CA 90006. Entrance in back parking lot at 960 S. Normandie
PLEASE NOTE: Reserve early as parking is limited!
RSVP: [email protected] or leave message 213 388 8228
Light refreshments provided