Championing SNAP at 40

SNAP, also known as food stamps, is an essential program that prevents tens of millions of Americans from experiencing dire hunger each year. SNAP serves a broad swath of the population, including families and single adults, the employed and the unemployed, children and the elderly, disabled people, rural and urban dwellers, and people of varied racial and ethnic backgrounds. For forty years, SNAP has enabled people living in poverty to feed themselves and their families. No matter what has happened to the economy and the job market, people have been able to buy food. It is an essential piece of our social safety net.

Even as we celebrate 40 years of SNAP, the program and its recipients are under attack. Republicans in Congress, led by Paul Ryan, hope to cut SNAP benefits, or worse, block grant the program, effectively ending it as a safety net in times of economic upheaval. States continually understaff their SNAP offices, thereby limiting hungry families’ ability to access benefits timely, and ignore system errors that deprive recipients of food. In too many states, improper and unfair application of draconian work requirements wrongly deprives SNAP recipients with disabilities of their benefits.

As we have throughout our history, NCLEJ is fighting across the country to preserve the social safety net, including SNAP, and to protect the rights of SNAP recipients. Our recent settlements in Louisiana and Florida have protected SNAP benefits for recipients wrongfully subjected to work rules, and an ongoing case in New York seeks to do the same in our home state. In recent years, we have secured court-approved settlements in numerous states, including Rhode Island, New York, Georgia, Connecticut, Hawaii, and Nebraska that have protected SNAP applicants’ right to timely receipt of benefits, and we recently filed a similar case in D.C. And we stand ready to fight any legislative or regulatory attacks on the program from the White House or Congress.