Make Calls Today and Tomorrow to Protect SNAP

The House of Representatives is taking calls this week about the latest draft of the Farm Bill, which includes many changes to the SNAP (food stamp) program. A vote is expected sometime this week.

Under the proposed law, parents of children 6 and up will be required to work at least 25 hours per week in order to qualify for SNAP. Adults age 50-59 will face the same work requirements (currently, adults age 18-49 who are not raising minor children must work 20 hours per week to meet SNAP requirements). Adults would need to certify their work status monthly, creating and expensive and unnecessary bureaucracy in each state.

Income eligibility will also decrease so that SNAP will only be available to families earning 130% or less of the federal poverty level. For a family of four, this means earning around $33,000 per year.

According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, these changes will cause over 1 million households (including over 2 million people) to lose access to SNAP or s…

We Still Need to Make Calls on Work Requirements

From our friends at PHAN

The PA House passed HB 2138, the bill that would force families and individuals who rely on Medicaid to file endless paperwork to prove that they work or are exempt from the law. If there's an error, people could be locked out of Medicaid for months at a time.

Not only would this cruel bill strip more than 85,000 of their health coverage, it would cost Pennsylvania taxpayers $3.4 billion over 6 years just to create new red tape for folks who rely on Medicaid. (You can read more about the bill in our post from mid-April.)

Take Action:
May 2nd is a statewide Day of Action to protect Medicaid. PHAN will be in Harrisburg from 11-3: sign up to join them here.Call your state Senator to show your opposition to Medicaid cuts and work requirements. PHAN has a sample script:I'm calling today to ask Senator _____________ to oppose adding work requirements and making cuts to Medicaid. The latest attack on Medicaid, House Bill 2138, creates expensive red tape an…

Stop SNAP work requirements

HB 1659, which would expand work requirements on SNAP and cause nearly 100,000 people to lose access to food stamps, went back to the Appropriations Committee yesterday. But even though it is off the table for now, there is a good chance it will come back.

[EDIT 5/2/18: This bill came back out of Appropriations yesterday and was voted on by the full House. It now moves on to the Senate.]

In most cases, SNAP recipients must already work or participate in a training program if they are ages 18-50, non-disabled, and not considered "vulnerable individuals" (one example of a vulnerable individual would be someone living in an area with a high-unemployment rate).   According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, the work rate for people receiving SNAP is and has been growing. More than 80 percent of SNAP households work the year before or after receiving SNAP.

SNAP works to keep children, families, and individuals fed, and to bridge the gap between jobs. It supplements wor…

Support runaway and homeless youth

From our friends at PEC:
Senator Robert Casey sponsored the Runaway and Homeless Youth and Trafficking Prevention Act (S.2571), and he signed onto the "Dear Colleague" letter urging greater support for programs serving children and youth who experience homelessness.

The next action is to urge Senators Casey and Toomey to sponsor the Homeless Children and Youth Act (HYCA), S. 611.

HCYA is bi-partisan legislation that reforms HUD Homeless Assistance to meet the needs of homeless children, youth, and families. It allows some of the most vulnerable homeless families and youth - those staying with others because they have nowhere else to go, and those staying in motels - to be eligible for HUD homeless assistance by aligning eligibility criteria with those of other federal programs. Good news is that Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) are the latest U.S. Senators to co-sponsor S. 611.

Pennsylvania's U.S. Senators Casey and Toomey need to sponsor S. 611.

Say No to Medicaid Work Requirements

Yesterday, the Pennsylvania House of Representatives approved a bill that would establish work requirements on Medicaid recipients. If this bill passes the Senate, "able-bodied" adults receiving Medicaid would need to work for at least 20 hours per week, look for a job, or participate in job training to qualify for Medicaid.

The "able-bodied" definition excludes full-time high school students, pregnant women, people receiving long-term disability benefits, people under 19 or older than 64, prisoners, and residents of mental health institutions.

Under this definition, however, people who lose their job or hours while getting treatment or recovering from surgery would not be covered. Neither would people who can't find a job because they can't access childcare or transportation. Qualified workers and people exempted from the requirements would still have to submit paperwork and medical verification, which will take time and cost money to the Commonwealth.


Your vote matters. Make sure you are registered to vote before April 16, 2018.

Primary elections are just around the corner, and if you live in Pennsylvania and are eligible to vote, you need to be registered by April 16. (If you live in another state, please visit Rock the Vote to find your state's information.)

[EDIT (May 1, 2018): If you missed the April deadline to register for the primaries, get a jump on registration for the General Election in November. Head here to register online right away!]

***If you have any issues on Election Day, please call 1-866-OUR-VOTE. 

Issues may include (but are not limited to): being told the wrong date/time to vote; not being allowed to cast a provisional ballot; being intimidated or challenged at the polls. 

Be sure to bring this number with you when you vote!***

Who is Running for Office?

On May 15, you can vote for a primary candidate to become Pennsylvania's Governor and Lieutenant Governor. You can also vote for candidates for the US Senate, US House of Representatives, State House of Representatives, and some sta…

Yes, we still need equal pay

On April 10, we "celebrate" Equal Pay Day, the date when women's earnings catch up with men's earnings from the previous year. And, in an era where mothers are increasingly the breadwinners in a family, we need equal pay now more than ever.

42% of families rely on mothers to earn at least half of their families' wages. An additional 22% are considered "co-breadwinners," which means they bring in at least a quarter of the money seen by a family in a given year. When these mothers - or anyone - is underpaid, the entire family suffers.

In 2015, the National Women's Law Center calculated that the wage gap amounts to annual loss of $10,876 for women. That adds up to five months of groceries, three months of rent and utilities, three months of child care payments, four months of health insurance, four months of student loans, and seven tanks of gas.

Women and their families aren't the only people who lose out due to the wage gap. People of color, with …