SNAP / Food Stamps in NM

Updates:

  • Federal Judge, USDA Find New Mexico Fails to Provide Food Assistance as Required by Federal Law.  United States District Court Judge Kenneth Gonzales ordered the New Mexico Human Services Department to immediately end denials and terminations of food and medical assistance caused by widespread delays in the state’s benefit application process. The state will also be required to prioritize and immediately screen applications for emergency food assistance as required by federal law. The New Mexico Center on Law and Poverty, representing a class of plaintiffs seeking food and medical assistance, filed suit in U.S. District Court. Plaintiffs provided the Court with state data showing over 50% of denials and terminations for food assistance are incorrect, delays in processing applications dating back to September of 2013, and concurrent loss of food assistance to more than 20,000 New Mexicans.
  • Read the press release here.
  • Read Judge Gonzalez’s order here.
  • Read the lawsuit:
    Plaintiffs’ Motion 
    Plaintiffs’ Exhibits
    Defendant’s Response
    Defendant’s Exhibits
    Plaintiffs’ Reply
    Plaintiffs’ Exhibits for Reply

SNAP Gross Income Test Increased for Expanded Eligibility
Starting on April 1, 2010, the SNAP gross income test has increased from 130% FPL to 165% FPL for most households. This will allow more hungry families to access the SNAP program and will draw down additional federal funds to help support the local economy.

SNAP Asset Test Removed
Starting on April 1, 2010, the SNAP asset test has been removed. Families will no longer have to deplete their assets before accessing the program.

Income Calculation Method Changed
Starting on April 1, 2010, the way earned income is calculated. The change will expand eligibility and increase benefit amounts for working families.

SNAP Work Requirement Improvements
Participation in the SNAP Employment & Training (E&T) became voluntary rather than mandatory starting April 1, 2010. Note that recipients of New Mexico Works/TANF and/or Unemployment Compensation must still comply with the work requirements of these programs.

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About SNAP in New Mexico:

The Food Stamp Program is now called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

The SNAP program has the most resources and the greatest potential to help get food to those who need it. It helps more than one in six New Mexicans put food on the table. Most SNAP recipients are children.

New Mexico has made great strides in alleviating hunger – moving from the state with the second highest rate of food insecurity in the nation to the fifth highest – yet, much work remains to be done. Nearly 30% of New Mexicans eligible to receive SNAP benefits are not participating in the program.

SNAP benefits are 100% federally funded. SNAP benefits are one of the most effective economic stimulus tools available. Every dollar of spending in SNAP benefits generates $1.84 in economic activity. Therefore, increasing access and participation in the program helps support the entire New Mexico economy while putting food on table of hungry New Mexicans.

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How to Apply for SNAP

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Know Your Rights When Applying for SNAP

By following a few tips when applying for SNAP, you can help ensure that your application is processed correctly and efficiently:

  • Find all the documents you need for the application, make copies of them, and submit them at one time to avoid repeated trips to the ISD office.
  • Always ask for a receipt! The ISD office must provide you with a receipt that lists the documents that you turned in for the application. This is a very helpful tool for ensuring that your application is not improperly denied.
  • Keep copies of every document submitted, and every letter or notice from ISD about the case, including envelopes that show when the document was mailed.
  • Remember – if you have difficulty completing the application process because your primary language is not English, HSD must provide translation and interpretation services to you at no cost.

For more information about your rights, we encourage you to read our brochures:

If you, or a family member or client, encounter problems when applying for SNAP that cannot be resolved with the Human Services Department, please contact the Center on Law and Poverty for assistance. However, please note that the Center provides legal assistance in limited circumstances, and may instead provide a referral to another agency.

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Our Advocacy on SNAP:

A central piece of our anti-hunger work is to improve access to SNAP for low-income New Mexicans. The Center works extensively with government, advocates and community organizations to protect and improve the SNAP program in New Mexico. Our work on SNAP currently includes the following objectives and activities:

  • Improving the SNAP application process and ensuring applicants are screened for expedited SNAP benefits via the Consent Decree from the Hatten-Gonzales v. Hyde class action lawsuit. Provisions of this Decree mandate improvements in the application process for Medicaid and SNAP. The Center uses legal and administrative advocacy to ensure that the state is abiding by the major provisions of this Decree.
  • In 2013, we began a major effort to ensure that the HSD properly administers the SNAP program for eligible college students.
  • Providing outreach and training to immigrant families and advocates who work with immigrant families to increase SNAP participation among eligible children of immigrant parents.
  • Ensuring the Department complies with federal law requiring that all SNAP applicants and participants are provided with appropriate language access.
  • Advocating for the removal of the SNAP asset test so that families do not have to deplete their assets before accessing the program.
  • Advocating for replacement of the Department’s antiquated computer system and requesting that the Department work with stakeholders in developing and implementing a new system.
  • Monitoring to ensure the Department complies with legal requirements to provide SNAP participants with timely and adequate notice before denying, reducing or terminating benefits.
  • Training anti-hunger advocates on the major provisions of the SNAP program and how to help their clients apply for benefits.
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Resources:

Factsheets:
Reports:
Media:
Links:
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