A House Agriculture subcommittee will hear testimony today about a Trump Administration plan to roll back an important state option (“categorical eligibility”) that lets states tailor their SNAP (food stamp) income and asset limits to provide modest help to certain low-income households — mainly working families, seniors, and people with disabilities — to afford food. Though Congress on a bipartisan basis has repeatedly rejected proposals to roll back the option, most recently in the farm bill that it enacted just six months ago, the Administration says it will try to implement the change through executive action.
Categorical eligibility has been a success for 20 years. More than 40 states have adopted it to make SNAP more responsive to the needs of households, specifically those working their way up the economic ladder or saving to invest in the future or avoid a financial crisis.
Categorical eligibility modestly broadens SNAP’s reach to help meet the needs of certain working families, senior citizens, and people with disabilities. Policymakers have long sought to help low-income households, especially those working and those saving in order to maintain their independence. This important state option makes SNAP more responsive to these two groups. Rolling it back, as the Trump Administration seeks to do, would be a step in the wrong direction.