Republican Farm Bill Threatens Food Security for Millions of Americans

May 15, 2018

Republican Farm Bill Threatens Food Security for Millions of Americans

This week, House Republicans will debate their partisan Farm Bill that could inflict economic and nutritional hardship on millions of Americans. Combined with unnecessary work requirements, this partisan bill makes drastic cuts to SNAP that would disproportionately hurt working families with children, older adults, and people with disabilities. See for yourself:

Millions of Americans would lose access to SNAP under the Republican Farm Bill. The majority are in households with children, who could go hungry if their parents can no longer access nutrition assistance.

Vox: “There are currently about 42 million Americans living below the poverty line, almost half of whom are children, who rely on SNAP to purchase food.”

WFPL News: “Hunger creates a lot of problems for teens and children, like trouble concentrating, fatigue and agitation. ‘There’s almost no point in coming to school if you’re hungry,’ [high school teacher Kumar] Rashad said.”

Chicago Tribune: “Other changes to the food aid program in the farm bill would cause another 400,000 households to lose eligibility in an average year and 265,000 children to lose access to free school meals, according to the CBO estimates.”

Roughly four million women would be subject to harsher work requirements and could be at risk of losing access to SNAP under the Republican Farm Bill.

Center on Budget and Policy Priorities: “Women are especially likely to receive SNAP benefits due to their higher poverty rates and their role as mothers and as caregivers for other family members. In 2016, some 15.2 million women received SNAP, or 63 percent of the program’s adult recipients.”

Nearly two million workers are at risk of losing access to SNAP under the Republican Farm Bill.

Harvest Public Media: “If a person goes a month where they average less than 20 hours a week of work, they could lose SNAP for a year. If it happens again after that, there’d be no access to SNAP for three years.”

Think Progress: “The farm bill will strike a provision called ‘broad-based categorical eligibility,’ which allows states to enroll their residents in SNAP if they can prove they qualify for other income-based public assistance programs. It provides a safety net for families and individuals working low-wage jobs that put them right above the income cutoff for SNAP.”

Roughly one million adults with disabilities could be at risk of losing their SNAP benefits.

Harvest Public Media: “The U.S. Department of Agriculture says people with mental health disabilities are the least likely to know where their next meal is coming from.”

Harvest Public Media: “One of his clients is a homeless woman with severe mental illness who almost lost her SNAP benefits in 2016. She was supposed to comply with work or training requirements to stay on SNAP because she was considered an able-bodied adult without children. But, she wasn’t able-bodied. She couldn’t work.”

About 1.6 million older Americans ages 50 through 59 would be subject to harsher work requirements and could lose their access to SNAP under the Republican Farm Bill.

Vox: “The House farm bill would extend the work requirements for people up to age 59 beginning in 2021 and ask for proof of working at least 20 hours a week monthly. The minimum work requirement would also be increased to 25 hours by 2026. Those who violate the requirements (or fail to properly prove they’ve completed the work) would be cut off from benefits for an entire year. If they violate the requirements repeatedly, recipients could be cut off from benefits for up to three years.”

Veterans and military families, including the tens of thousands of active-duty service members who rely on SNAP, could face even greater barriers to access the food assistance they need.

NPR: “…the GAO found troubling signs that some military families were in need. For example, nearly 1 in 4 children at DOD schools are eligible for free meals, a program that’s based on income. Also, about 23,000 active-duty service members rely on SNAP benefits, according to the 2013 Census Bureau.”

Harvest Public Media: “…many active-duty service members can’t get SNAP benefits because the government counts a soldier’s housing allowance as income, pushing them above the federal eligibility line.”

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