Action Alert!: Protect SNAP Eligibility

Action Alert!

The Co-op encourages Co-op member-owners to learn about proposed changes to SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) and comment on the proposed revisions. The Food Co-op has been providing SNAP benefits since 1993.

Stretch you SNAP/EBT dollar at the Port Townsend and Chimacum Farmers Markets with Fresh Bucks. Port Townsend Farmers Market open Saturdays, 9-2 April-October and 10-2 November through December 21 on Tyler St, uptown; Wednesdays, 11-3, Jefferson Transit Haines Place Park and Ride, June-September. Chimacum Farmers Market open Sundays, 10-2, Chimacum Corner Farmstand, June-October.

Based on estimates from the Food and Nutrition Service, over 15% of SNAP recipients in Washington state would lose eligibility and an estimated 265,000 children in our state would lose access to the National School Lunch Program as a direct result of this change.

Drastic reductions to SNAP benefits will have a particularly devastating impact in Jefferson and other more rural communities. This change directly affects so many of our local neighbors from the kids at our schools to the people who utilize our local SNAP match program at the Jefferson County Farmers Markets, a program that The Food Co-op has supported with a yearly sponsorship for 5+ years. Here in Jefferson County food insecurity rates are 1.5% higher than in Washington State as a whole (11.5% in Washington and 13% in Jefferson County). The discrepancies for childhood hunger are even greater – 17.3% statewide, but 21.5% for Jefferson County. These numbers spotlight an epidemic – one that cannot change unless we work together with a common goal. 

Comments are due by 8:59 pm Monday, September 23.

Please review the following information and submit your comment at this link. Together we can help maintain vital food access for needy children, families, and seniors.

USDA Proposal to End SNAP Broad-Based Categorical Eligibility

What is the proposal?

This story from The New Food Economy provides an excellent explanation about the proposed changes and how it will disproportionately affect residents in Washington state, reporting: "Texas, Iowa, Washington, and North Dakota are among many other states where at least 15 percent of households enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, as food stamps are officially known) will get kicked off of it under Trump’s proposal."

Two major issues with the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) Proposed Rule: Revision of Categorical Eligibility in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

1. Individuals and families who receive at least $90 a month in SNAP benefits will instead receive about half of their benefits in the form of a “USDA Foods package,” which would likely consist of “shelf-stable milk, ready-to-eat cereals, pasta, peanut butter, beans, and canned fruits and vegetables.” The delivery method is not part of the rule change and would be the burden of the states to define and administer.

2. The revision would eliminate category eligibility.

  • Currently, federal law requires SNAP recipients to meet specific income requirements; if their income puts them at 130% of the federal poverty line or lower they qualify for SNAP benefits.

  • Category eligibility allows individual states to automatically approve SNAP benefits for those that receive Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI). This would force families to apply separately for SNAP benefits and transfers additional costs and responsibility to those households.

    • Based on estimates from the Food and Nutrition Service, over 15% of SNAP recipients in Washington state would lose eligibility, and 9% of current national recipients would lose eligibility.

    • An estimated 265,000 children would lose their access to the National School Lunch Program as a direct result of this change.SNAP match program at the Jefferson County Farmers Markets

Tips for Submitting Effective Comments

Useful tips provided by regulations.gov for submitting comments on any issue.

Suggested Talking Points

Sending original comments has a greater impact than signing a petition and carries more weight than 1,000 form letters.

Comments are due by 8:59 pm Monday, September 23. Submit your comment at this link.


More on our Local Matching Program.

At the same time that SNAP benefits are likely to be massively reduced next season, the USDA Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive (FINI) grant that funded SNAP matching programs at farmers market in Jefferson, Clallam, Mason, and Kitsap counties over the last four years was not renewed as a statewide indicative in 2020. The Jefferson County Farmers Markets (Port Townsend and Chimacum Farmers Markets) needs community support to maintain a strong SNAP matching program next season. With your support, the households who need it most will have access to farm-direct, nutritious food through the Jefferson County Farmers Markets' Gimme5 food assistance program. Learn more: http://jcfmarkets.org/ebt-matching.