Representative Barbara Lee (D-CA) and 19 original cosponsors have introduced a bill to eliminate time limits on SNAP eligibility. The Improving Access to Nutrition Act (H.R. 1753) is a long overdue and permanent law change that will promote food security and equity for low-income Americans.
Since it was enacted in 1996, the SNAP eligibility time limit restricts many working-age adults without dependents to receive only three months of benefits in a three-year period unless they document sufficient hours of work. This harsh policy has taken food off the tables of many struggling adults. In addition, time limits on SNAP eligibility exacerbate racial inequities and are counterproductive, especially considering SNAP’s effectiveness in improving economic stability, food security, health, and well-being.
The existing time limits are harmful enough, but the Trump administration proposed a rule change to the time limit that would have left even more adults in areas with too few jobs at risk of losing their SNAP eligibility after three months.
In 2019, FRAC and its allies at national, state, and local levels mounted a campaign that generated over 100,000 public comments in opposition to the Trump administration’s proposed rule change. In 2020, Attorneys General for the District of Columbia and New York led litigation challenging that rule change. FRAC helped to inform the court in that case.
FRAC’s Heather Hartline-Grafton submitted a declaration in support of the motion for a preliminary injunction, and FRAC and Maryland Hunger Solutions filed an amicus brief in support of the plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgment. The litigation succeeded in securing temporary injunctive relief and a court order vacating the Trump administration’s final rule.
Fortunately, the Trump administration’s efforts ultimately were unsuccessful, and the opportunity is here to eliminate time limits altogether. While Congress has temporarily suspended the current SNAP eligibility time limit for the duration of the COVID-19 public health crisis, the Lee bill will permanently fix this barrier to SNAP access.
Join FRAC in urging Congress and the Biden administration to enact the Improving Access to Nutrition Act (H.R. 1753). Furthermore, ask additional Members of Congress to add their names to the list of bill sponsors.