How Working Families Are Affected by Restricting Broad-Based Categorical Eligibility for SNAP

Brief

How Working Families Are Affected by Restricting Broad-Based Categorical Eligibility for SNAP

September 12, 2019

Abstract

If the administration’s proposed changes to broad-based categorical eligibility (BBCE) in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) are implemented, about 1.3 million people in working families would no longer meet SNAP’s income test, and 724,000 people would not pass its asset test. This means a little more than 2 million people in working families would lose access to an average monthly SNAP benefit of $150 per household, reducing total benefits by just under $130 million monthly. Many of these families will experience greater food insecurity and face trade-offs between food and other basic expenses. These trade-offs can be particularly acute in areas with higher costs of living, an issue BBCE has allowed states to address. Further, without BBCE, working families may lose benefits if their earnings increase slightly and may be discouraged from saving for future emergencies and investments.

This brief was corrected September 23, 2019. The proposed changes to BBCE would reduce total benefits by millions of dollars monthly, not annually. The text on pages 1, 2, and 4 has been updated accordingly.

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