Press Releases

Conaway, Johnson Praise Trump Administration’s Proposed Rule to Curb Abuse of SNAP Eligibility

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Washington, July 23, 2019 | comments

Washington, D.C. – Today, the U.S. Department of Agriculture released a proposed rule to rein in an egregiously abused process that confers eligibility for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits to households who receive nominal services or support from other social safety net programs, a pathway often referred to as Broad-Based Categorical Eligibility (BBCE). After the announcement, House Agriculture Committee Ranking Member K. Michael Conaway (TX-11) and Nutrition, Oversight and Department Operations Subcommittee Ranking Member Dusty Johnson (SD-AL) made the following remarks:

“BBCE undermines the very foundation of SNAP. Bypassing the channels that prevent fraud and abuse is indefensible. Many have heard of Rob Undersander – the Minnesota Millionaire – who received SNAP benefits legally for 19 months because there was no enforcement of asset testing in Minnesota. A system that allows millionaires to receive these benefits is a system in desperate need of reform. I applaud President Trump, Secretary Perdue and the rest of the administration for their work to fix this out-of-control policy,” said Ranking Member Conaway.

“BBCE abuse isn’t limited to the case of Rob Undersander. It’s estimated that roughly three million individuals are receiving benefits for which they would not qualify through normal channels of eligibility. Every dollar spent on individuals with asset values above the limit or whose income is above the federal eligibility threshold is a dollar that cannot be preserved for those in need. It’s past time we get back in the business of waging a war on poverty through good governance and that starts today. I thank the Trump administration for helping curb abuse in the system, and I look forward to working together to help preserve and protect SNAP for those truly in need,” said Subcommittee Ranking Member Johnson.

ABOUT BBCE: Broad-Based Categorical Eligibility (BBCE) confers eligibility for SNAP benefits to households who receive nominal benefits from other social safety net programs. These nominal benefits are often given without basic eligibility verifications. BBCE bypasses SNAP asset testing, subsequently extending eligibility and benefits to households that otherwise may not qualify for the program. Households may have excessive amounts of cash on hand or luxury vehicles, none of which are counted as household resources.   

Today, 43 states use this policy to expand SNAP eligibility beyond congressional intent and the scope of federal statute—threatening resources for the truly needy.

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