The Iowa Hunger Coalition strongly opposes rolling back categorical eligibility for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), known in Iowa as Food Assistance.
Categorical eligibility allows states to increase the income threshold for SNAP beyond the federal income limit of 130% of the federal poverty level (FPL). In Iowa, categorical eligibility allows the state to increase the income threshold for Food Assistance to 160% FPL.
Iowans who are currently making between 130-160% FPL and are enrolled in Food Assistance are at risk of losing their benefits. This amounts to an estimated 59,000 Iowans, 16% of all SNAP participants in the state. These individuals, and millions more across the country, would no longer be eligible to receive SNAP benefits because their income is too high.
This proposed change to categorical eligibility would also have a ripple effect on other programs, including free and reduced school lunch programs for students. An estimated 265,000 students across the nation would lose access to automatic eligibility for these programs due to the fact that they would no longer be SNAP participants.
Food banks, food pantries, local governments, and social service agencies can expect to see more people turning to them for assistance if this rule change is enacted. It would impact the health and nutrition of tens of thousands of Iowans and millions of Americans.
The proposed USDA rule change to categorical eligibility is harmful, regressive, and would threaten the health and well-being of millions of Americans.