Broad Based Categorical Eligibility for SNAP at Risk

July 10, 2012
Lucy Mullany

Last week, the House Agriculture Committee unveiled their 2012 Farm Bill proposal that the Committee will take up on Wednesday, July 11th. The proposal would:

  1. Cut SNAP by $16 billion over ten years
  2. Eliminate states’ broad-based Categorical Eligibility option to raise or eliminate the SNAP asset test for households
  3. Limit states’ options to coordinate SNAP and Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) payments to help needy families afford to both “heat and eat.” 

What does it mean to eliminate categorical eligibility options?

The proposal would cut 1.8 million people per year from SNAP and undermine access to free school meals for 280,000 low-income children. The House cut to “heat and eat” policy would mean that 500,000 SNAP households would lose $90 a month in SNAP food benefit

What does this mean for Illinois?

Before 2010, households in Illinois with assets over $3,000 were not eligible for SNAP. However, in April 2010, the state implemented broad-based categorical eligibility and saving or other assets were no longer considered in determining SNAP eligibility for most households. The cuts to SNAP proposed by the House would eliminate the broad-based categorical eligibility option for states, which would mean the asset test would be reinstated. Already struggling families would once again have to nearly deplete their savings in order to be eligible for SNAP benefits.

Take Action

  1. Use the toll-free number - 1.877.698.8228 to call House Members with the message, “No SNAP Cuts/Hunger Hurts.”*
  2. Send a letter to your Representative in support of protecting broad-based categorical eligibility through CFED's Action Center
  3. Use Social Media to spread the word about SNAP cuts. Click here for sample tweets.

Background Information

*The National Call-In Day is hosted by the Food Research Action Center (FRAC) and Feeding America

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