H.R.1470: Anti-Hunger Empowerment Act of 2019
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is a federal program that provides nutrition benefits to families to increase well-being. It is currently the largest food assistance program in the country, serving approximately 9.5 million families. SNAP can be an essential support to lift families and older adults out of poverty and provide food security. Nearly half of all SNAP participants are children.
Federal eligibility is limited to people who make at or below 130 percent of the federal poverty line, and there is a three-month time restriction during a three-year period on benefits for able-bodied adults with no dependents, unless they are working 80 hours per month. State SNAP edibility varies, but generally depends on an applicants countable resources, income, and household size, etc. in addition to federal requirements. SNAP benefits are distributed monthly through electronic debit cards (EBT).
The National Assembly supports legislation that makes SNAP more readily available to those who need it.
The Anti-Hunger Empowerment Act would amend the Food and Nutrition Act of 2008 to cut administrative requirements that hinder participation in SNAP, and establish a pilot program that would allocate funding to larger local organizations, so they could reward subgrants to smaller community organizations that they deem appropriate.
The bill aims to “reduce duplicative and burdensome administrative requirements” by extending the number of hours SNAP offices are open, ensuring that families have access on nights and weekends. It also requires that offices take appropriate steps to reduce wait times, accept applications via internet, upgrade computer systems, and provide applicants with a checklist of documents needed. This would reduce the number of times applicants would be required to appear in person to repeat actions such as fingerprinting. Additionally, the Anti-Hunger Empowerment Act would require a single annual report outlining comparative progress by states in increasing SNAP accessibility.
The bill would also establish the Beyond the Soup Kitchen Pilot Program. The pilot program would distribute grant funding to a primary community-based non-profit feeding and anti-hunger group in each selected community. These organizations would then distribute subgrants to at least 10, but no more than 200 other community-based groups that: increase the use of nutrition assistance programs, assist individuals and families in developing assets, improve nutrition and provide nutrition education, and the like.
- Reducing cumbersome administrative barriers to receiving SNAP benefits would help working families, and their children, thrive.
- The proposed pilot program would allow community-based organizations to determine their own needs and solutions, thus allowing them to more effectively address hunger within the community that they know best.
- The National Assembly supports the Anti-Hunger Empowerment Act, as it would increase participation for eligible individuals and families in SNAP, and aid communities in addressing hunger to support everyone’s well-being.