On June 9, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced the official withdrawal of a previously proposed rule, Revision of Categorical Eligibility in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Initiated under the Trump administration in 2019, the rule sought to eliminate the option for Broad Based Categorical Eligibility (BBCE), which allows states to determine SNAP eligibility based on participation in the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program. BBCE is an important flexibility that allows social service agencies to streamline applications across assistance programs and expand income eligibility to avoid penalizing program participants for nominal increases in earnings.
Counties administer the SNAP program in 10 states representing 31 percent of all program participants: California, Colorado, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Virginia and Wisconsin. Counties operating SNAP often contribute significant levels of local funds to meet the administrative and supplemental costs of running the program.
As NACo expressed in initial comments on the proposed rule, removing the option for BBCE could significantly create new financial and administrative requirements without providing additional federal resources, functioning as an unfunded mandate for local governments. Agency estimates also projected upwards of 3 million individuals losing access to the SNAP program as a result of the proposed rule, resulting in additional hardship for vulnerable county residents.
Counties support USDA’s decision to withdraw the rule and look forward to continuing to work with our federal partners to ensure the SNAP program has sufficient funding and flexibility to meet the unique needs of our communities.
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Reauthorization and Appropriations
- Fighting Food Insecurity During COVID-19 and Beyond: Key Updates for County Leaders
- NACo Regulatory Outlook for the Biden Administration