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SECOND LOOK | The Sentencing
3102 ~ The Nutritution Relief and Work
113th Congress | Second Session | 09 September - 13 December 2013
Reauthorization of SNAP and
Other Nutrition Programs in
the Next Farm Bill:
Issues for the 113th Congress
Randy Alison Aussenberg |
Analyst in Nutrition Assistance Policy
10 December 2013
Congressional Research Service
| 7-5700 | www.crs.gov | R43332 | 54 Pages.
Excerpts related to SNAP eligibility and
SNAP Eligibility: Other
In addition to work-related disqualifications,
like the ABAWD time limit, Section 6 of the Food and
Nutrition Act of 2008 (codified at 7 U.S.C. 2015) provides causes for
temporary or permanent disqualification from the SNAP
program. The House and Senate conference proposals would add some additional disqualifications and amend some existing
disqualifications. In addition to the discussion
below, these disqualification provisions are summarized in Table
College Students, Lottery
Under current law, for the most part,
college students (attending higher education courses halftime
or more) between ages 18 and 49 are ineligible for
SNAP. A student enrolled in an institution of higher
education more than half-time is only eligible for SNAP benefits if the
individual meets at least one of the following
criteria: (1) under 18 years old or age 50 or older; (2) disabled; (3)
employed at least 20 hours per week or participating
in a work-study program during the school year; (4) a
parent (in some circumstances); /36 (5) receiving TANF cash assistance
benefits; or (6) enrolled in school because of
participation in certain programs. /37
Also under current law, there is no provision
that specifically addresses lottery or gambling; however, the SNAP
program's means tests would appear to limit the increase in income
or wealth that would be associated with significant
winnings. In several high-profile instances recently,
SNAP participants won large sums in the lottery, and the state agency learned
of their windfall from media reports.
House and Senate Proposals: Identical Changes
for College Students' and Lottery Winners'
Both conference proposals would make identical
changes regarding post-secondary students and gambling winnings:
Regarding post-secondary students, the bills
would add the requirement that those students enrolled in post-secondary
institutions as a requirement of participation in "SNAP Employment and
Training," must be enrolled in certain employment-oriented training to qualify for SNAP; specifically,
this would include certain career and technical
education, remedial courses, basic adult education,
literacy, or English as a second language.
The bills would create more specific rules
that would make households that receive "substantial lottery or gambling
winnings" (as determined by USDA) ineligible for SNAP until the household
meets the SNAP resources (assets) and income eligibility limits. State SNAP
agencies would be required to establish agreements with the state gaming
agency in order to make determinations of winnings. /38
Under current law, SNAP applicants and
participants can only be subjected to testing for controlled substances under certain state options. For example, a
state may require a SNAP applicant to pass a drug
test, if such a test is part of the states modification to the drug felony
disqualification (see next section). /39
House Proposal: State Option to
Offer Drug Testing Requirement /40
The House would propose to allow states to
enact legislation authorizing drug testing for SNAP applicants. Such state policies would be implemented at full cost
to the state.
Under current law, the only criminal
convictions that can impact eligibility for SNAP benefits are drug felony offenses (with some states opting out of or modifying
the drug felony disqualification).
House and Senate Proposals:
Disqualification of Specified Ex-Offenders /40
Both the House and Senate conference proposals
include provisions that would broaden the exoffender applicants that would be disqualified for SNAP. Both Section 4020
of the Senate and Section 4037 of House proposal would
bar from receiving benefits individuals convicted of specified federal crimes (including murder, rape, certain crimes
against children), and state offenses determined by
the Attorney General to be substantially similar. /41
The amendment would still allow the disqualified ex-offender's household members to
apply for and potentially receive benefits, but the
household's benefit amount would likely be smaller than if the ex-offender was
included. The amendments would require the state
agency that administers SNAP benefits to collect, in
writing, information on SNAP applicant's convictions.
The Senate and House proposals are identical in
their language, except that the House includes an additional provision to assure that the policy would affect only
those with convictions after the date of the
provision's enactment. /42
SNAP Benefit Calculation
Becoming eligible for SNAP is only one
part of the application process. Once deemed eligible, a household's benefits are calculated based on the household's size,
income, and SNAP-deductible expenses. A household's
net income is determined by subtracting from the household's gross
income certain specified expenses and figures. In
addition to a standard deduction (available to all households), there are deductions to account for the specific
circumstances of a household.
Examples of SNAP deductions are the excess
shelter deduction (a figure intended to account for variations in the cost of living) and for--households that include
the elderly and disabled--an excess medical expenses
deduction (a figure intended to account for variations in a household's
health costs). Once eligible, 30% of the household's
net income is subtracted from USDA's monthly maximum
benefit (for household size) to determine the monthly benefit.
The conference proposals, for the most part,
would maintain current federal law on SNAP benefit calculation; however, both bills would change the way the excess
shelter deduction is calculated (specifically, the
treatment of energy assistance payments). This is discussed in more detail in
the next section.
The House conference proposal also included a
specification for the excess medical expenses deduction.
This provision is not discussed below, but is
included in a summary table of the SNAPbenefit
calculation provisions, Table A-6.
36. An otherwise ineligible student is eligible for SNAP if
the student is (1) a single parent enrolled in school full-time caring for a
dependent under the age of 12 years old, (2) a parent caring for a dependent
under age 6, or (3) a parent caring for a child between the ages of 5 and 12
years old for whom child care is not available to enable the parent to both
attend class and work 20 or more hours per week.
37. A program under title I of the Workforce Investment Act,
a SNAP Employment and Training program, a program under section 236 of the
Trade Act of 1974, a work incentive program under title IV of the Social
Security Act, or "another program for the purpose of employment and training
operated by a state or local government, as determined to be appropriate by
the Secretary." 7 U.S.C. 2015(e).38.
The Senate Committee's report from last Congress'
bill S. 3240 (S.Rept. 112-203) cited a May 2011 lottery winners participation in SNAP, describing that, while the bill
intends to prohibit such cases in the future, the Committee "does not intend to increase the administrative burden
on states by instituting extensive oversight of private or charitable gaming activities, such as those that occur at
senior centers, churches, private homes or other noncommercial gaming. Further, it is not the intent of the Committee that the
Secretary be required to impose statutory requirements that may otherwise be waived under State option in
this Act. The Committee encourages the Secretary to evaluate the criteria for substantial winnings in a manner that
does not produce an outcome that increases poverty."
to USDA-FNSs most recent state options report (August 2012), only Maryland,
Minnesota, Wisconsin have a modified drug felon
disqualification policy that requires drug testing for such felons.
40. Drug-testing and crime-related restrictions in SNAP are discussed
in CRS Report R42394, Drug Testing and
Crime-Related Restrictions in TANF, SNAP, and
Housing Assistance, by Maggie McCarty et al.,
41. For further
discussion of these ex-offender disqualification proposals, including crimes
specified, CRS has released a congressional
memorandum. Congressional clients may request a copy from Randy Alison
Aussenberg at firstname.lastname@example.org or Richard M.
Thompson II at email@example.com.
42. In addition
to their cost estimate of the Senate-reported bill, CBO composed an official
cost estimate for the Senate floor amendment which
added the ex-offender provision to the bill before it passed the Senate. See
CBO website, http://cbo.gov/publication/44905.
They estimate that the provision would reduce spending by as little as $21
million or as much as $185 million over 10 years
(FY2014-2023), depending upon whether the provision is interpreted to apply
to convictions that occurred before the change to
SNAP eligibility law.
43. For further
details and analysis of this policy, please see CRS Report R42591,
The Next Farm Bill: Changing the Treatment of LIHEAP Receipt in the Calculation of SNAP
Benefits, by Randy Alison Aussenberg and Libby
Oppose Ban on Food Assistance for
Convicted Individuals and their Families
Deadline 10 Sept. 2013 at 12
you to sign the attached letter to Senate and House Agriculture Committee
leadership urging them to reject the harmful Vitter amendment to the Farm
Bill, which would deny food assistance to people convicted of certain offenses
and their families.
In recent months, Senator Vitter has offered a series
of amendments that would deny public benefits to convicted individuals. In
May, the Senate accepted his amendment 1056 to the Farm Bill, S.954, denying
SNAP benefits for life to people convicted of certain offenses. Many of
you joined us in sending a letter to Senate leaders urging them to reject this harmful amendment. (A month
later, the House adopted a similar amendment, which has thus far
The Vitter amendment is odious for a
number of reasons. It's counterproductive because it makes it harder for
formerly incarcerated individuals to safely reenter society. It's
mean-spirited, as it reduces food benefits for children and families in the
households of such individuals. Because it's retroactive, the Vitter
amendment would deny food assistance to elderly individuals who long ago
completed their prison sentences. Disparities in the criminal justice
system mean African Americans and Latinos would be disproportionately affected.
We've calculated that of the 1.6
million people in state or federal prison, about one in six were convicted of
the offenses targeted by this amendments. Over time, the ban would apply
to well over a million people.
With a Farm Bill conference
expected soon, we encourage you to help us send a letter to Senate and
House Agriculture Committee leadership urging them to reject the harmful Vitter
amendment. SignON Letter: http://www.fedcure.org/documents/OPPOSE-VitterSNAP-090913.doc
TOMORROW AT NOON (10 Sept. 2013) with the name of your organization as
you'd like it to appear.
09 September 2013
FedCURE's Chairman, Mark A. Varca, J.D.,
concurs with the Honorable Arthur L. Burnett, Sr., Vice President of
Administration and National Executive Director of the National African
American Drug Policy Coalition, Inc. To wit:
In my capacity as Vice President of Administration and National
Executive Director of the National African American Drug Policy Coalition,
Inc., I have the authority to act on this matter for the organization. We
strongly oppose the Vitter Amendment and sign on to the proposed letter to
the Conference Committee anticipated for the following cogent reasons:
1. Such an amendment undermines the goals and objectives of the Second
Chance Act as to re-entry programs and enabling individuals to readjust and
lead law abiding lives upon being release from jails and prisons.
2. It jeopardizes public safety and increases the risk of recidivism
out of desperation and hunger by the persons who will be deprived of these
benefits and thus add to the costs of law enforcement activities and further
3. It would have devastating consequences on children living in the
households of such individuals who will be deprived of need nourishment, and
visits the "sins" of the parents on the children, leaving them mal-nourished
and in poorer health conditions, at increased costs to our healthcare
4. Such a law will increase the disparity impact of our laws on
minorities and the poor who have obtained these criminal records because of
how our law enforcement and criminal justice system have operated in the
past, and thus it is totally counterproductive and detrimental to the
welfare of our entire society.
To the extent your letter does not explicitly state these reasons, I
have no objection to you incorporating them or adding them in further
representations or communications to the anticipated Conference
Arthur L. Burnett, Sr.
Judge - Retired
National Executive Director
American Drug Policy Coalition, Inc.
Howard University School of Law
Holy Cross Hall - Rooms 412-414
2900 Van Ness Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20008
(202) 806-8622 or 806-8623
577-8365 FAX: (202) 537-3806
E-mail addresses: Aburnettsr@aol.com Albsr2alb@aol.com
113th Congress | First Session | 03 January 2013
||| FedCURE c2a |||
Rep's. Hudson, Reed and Scott's, mean spirited,
Amendments, to the "Farm Bill" - H.R. 1947.
MISSION ACCOMPLISHED ~ FARM BILL DEFEATED In the U.S. House
in a 195-234 vote. BRAVO! Job Well Done.
Now on to the BARBER AMENDMENT.
20 June 2013/17:00
In a 195-234 vote, the FARM Bill #HR1947 was defeated in the House.
Just when we thought we were down after loosing on the Hudson and Reed
Amendments, late last night, the entire bill has been defeated in the House.
HASH TAGS: #Piss4Food #foodstamps #farmbill #hr1947
Many kind thanks for all of your support. Job well done.
From POPVOX's Hill sources:
In the House:
The House started early and was on track to pass a Farm
Bill, but in the final vote, the bill failed 195-234.
The bill was H.R.
1947, and included some reforms to U.S. farm
policy. Nearly all the heated debate, however dealt with the food stamps
program, and in fact roughly 80 percent of the bill deals with food
The legislation was always on shaky ground, as it cut $20
billion from food stamps, which most Democrats opposed. Democrats also opposed
language added at the last minute that would let states tie food stamp
benefits to work requirements.
At the same time, many Republicans felt more cuts were
needed, as the overall expense of the bill was nearly 60 percent higher than
the last farm bill in 2008. The cost increase reflected additional food stamp
spending, some of which was provided by the 2009 stimulus bill.
In the end, just 24 Democrats voted for it, while House
Leadership had expected 40 Democrats to support the bill. More importantly, 62
Republicans voted against it, making it impossible to overcome the weight of
opposition on both sides.
It's not clear what's next, but a temporary patch may be
needed. The Senate has already passed a farm bill that spends a bit more than
the House proposal.
Rep's. Hudson, Reed and Scott's, mean spirited,
Amendments, to the "Farm Bill" - H.R. 1947.
Piss-4-Food is just
PEOPLE Please: CONTACT CONGRESS NOW!
Capital Switchboard to talk to your
Tell your Congressperson to OPPOSE
U.S. Rep's. Hudson, Reed and Scott's, mean spirited, Amendments to the "Farm
H.R. 1947 - Bans food
assistance to certain offenders.
ORGANIZATIONS ~ Please SignOn:
Deadline, Today, Thursday, June 20, at 12 pm
To SignOn, please forward this
message and name of your organization to:
Grant Smith: firstname.lastname@example.org
Mark O'Brien: email@example.com
Jeremy Haile: firstname.lastname@example.org
OPPOSE: Cuts in the House bill
"particularly to the federal food stamp program" have drawn complaints from
Democrats. Many Republicans believe the bill still spends too much,
making it unclear whether it can survive in the House. However, the
Amendments below, if passed, will be a huge social disruption and
have a negative impact on the people who need the assistance the most, which
will only increase recidivism rates. The only ones who win here are the
people who own the drug testing enterprises:
ALL, Please OPPOSE the Amendments, to the
"Farm Bill" - H.R. 1947:
AMENDMENT TO THE RULES COMMITTEE PRINT OF H.R. 1947
OFFERED BY MR. HUDSON OF NORTH CAROLINA:
Drug testing food stamp recipients (Rep. Hudson ? Amendment No.
46): Would allow states to begin
drug testing persons who apply or receive SNAP benefits (food
stamps). The courts, for good cause, have prevented sates from
imposing drug testing, but Amendment No. 46 would override the courts
AMENDMENT TO RULES COMMITTEE PRINT 113-14, H.R. 1947
FEDERAL AGRICULTURE REFORM AND RISK MANAGEMENT ACT OF 2013 OFFERED BY MR.
AUSTIN SCOTT OF GEORGIA:
Require states to deny TANF for drug felonies (Rep. Scott -
Amendment No. 131): Would
repeal a long standing federal law that has allowed states to opt-out
of federal ban on the provision of both TANF and SNAP to persons with a
drug felony conviction on their record (traditionally, the states
have opted-out of the federal ban to deny assistance to persons with a
drug felony conviction.. Evidence gathered under the gold standard shows
that drug felons are among the most in need of food assistance).
These amendments must still be approved by the House
Rules committee, so it is important you take action in opposition,
TAKE ACTION NOW!
Over-criminalization is an issue of
criminal laws and regulations have increased, so has the number of Americans
who have found themselves breaking the law with no intent of doing
Americans who make
innocent mistakes should not be charged with criminal
Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.)
Over-Criminalization [bi-partisan] Task Force of 2013
BARBER AMENDMENT IS CURE ~ Dangerously
Over Crowded Federal Prison System
Despite a ten year build out, increased double bunking and triple
bunking, since 2003, the overcrowding rate hovers at 38%. The federal prison
population was 165,000 in January 2003. May 2013, it is hovering at 218,500.
America cannot build its way out of crowding. BARBER to S.619 and H.R.1695,
retroactively, is CURE.