Federal food assistance was created to increase nutrition levels and eliminate hunger. However, a new rule proposed by the Trump administration threatens food assistance for more than 27,000 New Mexicans and 755,000 low income adults nationwide.
Federal law already requires that states limit SNAP eligibility to just three months out of every three years for unemployed and underemployed adults without dependent children unless they can document 20 hours of work a week.
Now the Trump administration has proposed to make the time limits even harsher with a rule that would prevent states from waiving these draconian time limits in areas with too few jobs.
Please tell the Trump administration to abandon this unfair rule!
New Mexico has implemented a statewide waiver of the time limits for decades because our unemployment levels have been more than 20 percent above the national average.
New Mexico has some of the highest rates of food insecurity in the United States, and SNAP has been a critical tool in addressing hunger. But counties like Catron, Cibola, McKinley, Mora, Sierra, Taos, and Torrance—with unemployment rates over seven percent—would likely no longer qualify for a waiver. The same would be true for most Native American communities in the state.
Protect food security in New Mexico and the nation by submitting your public comment! Deadline: April 2, 2019.
Submit your comment here: https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2019/02/01/2018-28059/supplemental-nutrition-assis
Below is some content to include in your comment. To maximize its impact, make sure your comment has at least one third original text.
Food for the hungry shouldn’t have a time limit!
- This rule will only increase hunger. The adults who would be affected by the new rule are some of the lowest income of all SNAP participants. USDA data shows that those likely to be cut off by the time limit have average monthly income of about 17 percent of the poverty line.
- There is no evidence that the rule increases employment or earnings, but data from states that implemented the time limit, show that the vast majority of adults simply lost SNAP benefits without finding employment.
- Food banks and charities cannot fill the need. Roadrunner Food Bank reports that they have increased their distribution of food by 70 percent over the last ten years, but it is still not enough.
- Losing SNAP hurts grocers and our local economies. SNAP benefits are spent at more than 1,588 authorized retailers in New Mexico, including grocers and local food retailers around the state. About $693 million of SNAP benefits were redeemed in New Mexico in 2016. The average New Mexico SNAP benefit in FY 2017 was $121. When multiplied by the 27,244 people who could lose benefits under the proposed rule, up to $3,296,524 federal dollars could leave the state.
- New Mexico could lose more than $5.5 million in economic activity because SNAP dollars have a multiplier effect. $1.7 dollars is generated for every SNAP dollar spent.
- Losing SNAP will mean an increase in public healthcare costs. A study published by the American Medical Association found that on average SNAP participation lowers an individual’s health care expenditures by approximately $1,447 per year.
- The rule sidesteps Congress, which rejected these changes in the 2018 farm bill.
- The rule is costly and difficult for New Mexico to administer. Governor Martinez attempted to implement these requirements despite New Mexico’s high unemployment. The federal court found that the state could not implement the requirements without terminating assistance to eligible adults.
More information about SNAP in New Mexico: