Among other provisions in the bill, the legislation would impose stricter work requirements for people age 50-55 to access SNAP. Currently this rule only applies to able-bodied adults without dependents between the ages of 18 and 49. There is also an amendment to increase the number of hours to meet this work requirement from 20 hours/week to 30 hours/week.
Advocates of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) will be holding a press conference Tuesday, April 18, at 10:30am in the Iowa State Capitol (south end of the Capitol Rotunda). This is a final plea to Governor Kim Reynolds to veto Senate File 494 – which would kick thousands of Iowans off SNAP and other public assistance programs.
On Thursday, April 13, SF 494 passed the Iowa House without amendment with a vote of 58-41 after nearly four hours of floor debate and 18 proposed amendments. The bill now moves to the Governor’s desk for signature.
Community advocates have voiced concerns that Iowans will lose access to SNAP and other public assistance programs due to the added administrative hurdles from SF 494. This bill would have an immediate downstream effect as people will turn to food banks and food pantries that are seeing record numbers across the state.
SNAP enrollment in Iowa is currently at a 14-year low while fraud committed by individuals enrolled in SNAP remains at a fraction of a percentile of the ~270,000 active participants in the state. This bill will increase administrative costs by millions and will also establish a third-party vendor to institute administrative oversight that will profit from it all.
Establishing an asset test and additional eligibility verification checks would remove people from the program who struggle to meet the new requirements and discourage people from applying for public assistance programs like SNAP.
Thank you to everyone who attended today’s public hearing on eSF 494, submitted a public comment, and helped spread the word about the public hearing and the harm that SF 494 would cause. We are nothing without our advocates, and that means YOU! Thank you for your tireless work in opposing the bad SNAP legislation we’ve seen introduced this session.
If you missed today’s public hearing, you can watch it online below.
You can also watch a video recording of a press conference the Iowa Hunger Coalition held following the public hearing with the Iowa Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO and Save the Children Action Network to highlight the voices of people who would be directly impacted by SF 494. A special thank you goes out to Briana Jenkins for organizing this press conference!
What Comes Next?
SF 494 is now eligible for floor debate and a vote in the House. This could happen as early as next week. It’s vital we reach out to ALL members of the Iowa House and share our concerns with SF 494.
Please contact your Representative and share your concerns with them about SF 494! You can also contact Speaker Pat Grassley and House Majority Leader Matt Windschitl to ask them not to bring SF 494 to a vote in the House.
You can also write a letter to the editor or guest opinion column to your local newspaper. Legislators pay attention to these, and it’s another way to get the word out in your community about the harm that SF 494 would cause. We’re always happy to help provide talking points and advice for writing these, so reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like our help!