Proposed changes to food stamps will leave more Pennsylvanians hungry

Grocery bag of healthy foodsIn July, the USDA announced proposed changes to the SNAP (food stamp) program that would cut food assistance from 3 million people nationally, including 200,000 people in PA.  These changes would restrict families with incomes above 130% of the federal poverty level from accessing food stamps and free school meals.

Currently 40 states, including Pennsylvania, use categorical eligibility to determine if a family qualifies for SNAP. In PA, families with incomes up to 160% of the federal poverty level remain eligible for some amount of benefits if their child care, housing, or other expenses bring their income below 130% of the federal poverty level.

Categorical eligibility allows families to phase out their SNAP benefits slowly as their income rises. It also allows low-income families to put money into savings, and it saves money by simplifying administration of the program. 

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