Federal Court Rules Missouri Violated SNAP Law and the ADA 


MISSOURI – Last night, SNAP advocates secured a major victory in their federal lawsuit against the Missouri Department of Social Services when a district court judge ruled that the State’s practices – including long call center wait times, wrongful denials of benefits, and lack of disability accommodations – violate the laws governing the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). 

Read the decision here. 

The decision orders the Missouri Department of Social Services to come into legal compliance and outlines steps the agency must take under the Court’s supervision. The agency must:  

“This decision is a major vindication of the rights of Missourians,” said Katharine Deabler-Meadows, Staff Attorney at NCLEJ. ”The Court has recognized the immense harm that DSS is causing to people who depend on SNAP benefits, and we’re excited to see the implementation of steps to ensure that all Missourians can access SNAP.” 

 “Our clients will no longer have to face insurmountable barriers to maintain essential safety net benefits,” said Katherine Holley, Staff Attorney with the Legal Services of Eastern Missouri. “We applaud the Court for this ruling, and we will continue to hold DSS accountable for coming into compliance with SNAP law and the ADA. 

“We’re thrilled with this result, and we look forward to making this system more accessible to the hundreds of thousands who rely on SNAP benefits,” said Andrew Scavotto, Partner at Stinson, LLP. 

Thelawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri in February 2022 on behalf of Empower Missouri and two low-income Missourians against Robert Knodell, the Acting Director of the State’s Department of Social Services. The lawsuit highlights how Missouri’s dysfunctional SNAP program deprives eligible Missourians of their right to SNAP benefits: 

If you are an individual or family seeking assistance, please contact Legal Services of Eastern Missouri at the Food Stamp Hotline at 314-256-8739 or send an email to foodstamps@lsem.org.  

The National Center for Law and Economic Justice is a legal nonprofit organization that advances racial and economic justice for low-income families, individuals, and communities across the country through ground-breaking impact litigation, policy advocacy, and support for grassroots organizing. Founded in 1965, NCLEJ fights to protect access to critical benefits like food stamps, Medicaid, and childcare, protect low-wage workers’ rights and safety, advocates for the rights of people with disabilities, and fights unlawful debt collection.  

Legal Services of Eastern Missouri provides free legal services to low-income Missourians in 21 counties of eastern Missouri, in order to improve lives, promote fairness, and create opportunities for those in need.  

Stinson LLP is a full-service business law firm with nearly 450 attorneys who serve clients nationwide from its 12 offices in the Midwest, Mountain West, and Southwest, and in Washington, D.C. Specifically, Stinson provides a complete range of services to clients who need to interact with government at all levels, including businesses, trade associations, nonprofits, and citizens’ groups.