The Department of Agriculture (USDA) has proposed a
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) rule
that would eliminate an estimated 3.1 million children, families, disabled and older adults from access to SNAP benefits nationwide, including more than 200,000 Pennsylvanians.
This blockage of nutrition support for vulnerable and hungry people ignores the will of Congress when it
considered this very issue
in the 2018 Farm Bill. SNAP serves about 36 million people, the majority of whom are children, the elderly or people with disabilities. The rule eliminates
broad based categorical eligibility
(“Cat El”), which is a mechanism used by states to reduce bureaucratic red tape and ensure that vulnerable populations receive the support they need. By eliminating Cat El, states are forced to follow procedures that add to the cost of providing SNAP to low-income populations in areas of wide-spread poverty. People in serious need of healthy, life-sustaining food are qualifying for SNAP by Cat El yet would be denied access if the proposed rule is adopted.
In Pennsylvania, the rule change would cost an estimated $2.2 million in additional administrative expenses, plus an estimated
$1.157 billion in federal reimbursement of administrative costs to state agencies (for a total of $2.314 billion in additional administrative costs) over five years
how this rule change will affect Commonwealth residents.
ELCA social teaching urges Lutherans to engage in service and advocacy for our neighbor in need of daily bread. These faith practices express our relationship with Jesus Christ, rooted in baptism that sends us out for the sake of the world.
“When we pray in the Lord’s Prayer, 'Give us this day our daily bread,' we place ourselves in tension with economic assumptions of our society. Rather than being self-sufficient, we need and depend on what God gives or provides through people, practices, and systems. 'Daily bread' is not earned by efforts of individuals alone, but is made possible through a variety of relationships and institutions [note to Martin Luther's 'The Large Catechism']. God gives in ways that expand our notions of who 'us' includes, from people close at hand to those around the globe. In stark contrast to those who seek unchecked accumulation and profit, our attention is drawn to those who are desperate for what will sustain their lives for just this day.”
– From ELCA social statement
Sufficient, Sustainable Living for All
ELCA World Hunger works to change the systems that perpetuate poverty based on extensive ministry with our membership, congregations and communities, knowing we can't do it alone. Elected officials must carry out the essential role government plays to help people who need nutritious food.
The comment period ends on September 23. Time is short, and your voice is essential now!
The proposed rule is harmful because it:
- Increases hunger for families by eliminating access to SNAP for 3.1 million vulnerable members of our communities
- Ignores the will of Congress when it addressed this issue in the 2018 Farm Bill
- Harms grocery retailers and agricultural producers by reducing the amount of SNAP dollars available to spur local economic activity
- Threatens the health outcomes and learning potential of children
How you can help!
- Submit a comment that shows your opposition to this rule.
- Speak out against the SNAP draft rule at a town hall meeting hosted by your senator or representative.
- Sign up for ELCA Advocacy Action Alerts from to receive the most up-to-date information on the SNAP rule.
Want to learn more?
Register your opposition to the Proposed Rule
by the USDA Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) by making a public comment before September 23, 2018 on "Revision of Categorical Eligibility in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)”
Thank you for your Advocacy!