Gov. Wolf: Trump Administration Food Program Plan Will Punish Working Families

July 29, 2019

Harrisburg, PA – Governor Tom Wolf today commented on the Trump Administration’s proposal to end Broad-Based Categorical Eligibility, a policy implemented by Pennsylvania and 42 other states that makes low-income families categorically eligible for food assistance through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) because they qualify for a non-cash benefit funded by Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF).

“This proposed change to SNAP benefits is punishment for working families across America,” Gov. Wolf said. “I oppose this ludicrous change that will hurt tens of thousands of Pennsylvanians, creating an undue burden and more food insecurity for families, older Pennsylvanians and people with disabilities who already struggle to put food on the table.”

In Pennsylvania, more than 1.7 million people rely on SNAP to afford food. The elimination of Broad-Based Categorial Eligibility jeopardizes SNAP benefits for about 200,000 people in more than 120,000 Pennsylvania households. The policy disproportionately affects the elderly and disabled populations, as well as working families.

“This proposed rule will have a negative effect on food security, including jeopardizing the school lunch program because SNAP families receive free school lunches,” Gov. Wolf said. “The federal government must do better to support working families.”

“The Trump Administration’s proposed rule targets needy families by restricting their ability to get SNAP benefits and will, quite simply, create more hungry families,” Department of Human Services Secretary Teresa Miller said. “Eliminating Broad-Based Categorical Eligibility will force families to choose between putting food on their table or covering childcare, rent, or other basic needs. This is unconscionable.”

“The rule has ramifications beyond food security,” Gov. Wolf said. “Pennsylvania retailers rely on the money SNAP recipients spend and reducing the number of people able to use these benefits in Pennsylvania will have a significant economic impact. In addition, when people receive proper nutrition, they remain healthier and spend less on health care. Depriving people of the means for adequate sustenance and a healthier life is cruel and inhumane.”

The departments of Human Services and Education are working to gather and submit public comment opposing this rule change within 60 days.

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