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USDA Withdraws Proposed Rule on Categorical Eligibility in SNAP

Today, USDA has taken action to withdraw its previously proposed rule, Revision of Categorical Eligibility in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program(84 FR 35570). 

The proposed rule, published on July 24, 2019, would have limited states’ ability to use participation in Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) to determine eligibility for SNAP. The rule put restrictions on the type and amount of TANF benefits a household must receive to be considered eligible for SNAP benefits and increased the reporting requirements for states using this administrative option.  If finalized, the rule would have cost $2.3 billion in administrative expenses over 5 years, and more than 3.1 individuals in 1.7 million households would have lost access to SNAP benefits. Further, nearly 1 million children would have lost automatic eligibility for free school meals, and 16,500 participants would have lost automatic eligibility for WIC. 

USDA received nearly 158,000 comments on the proposed rule.  Many expressed concerns that this policy would increase the administrative burden on states and potentially jeopardize food security for children, veterans, individuals with disabilities, and the elderly.   

After reviewing the comments received, USDA has determined that the proposed rule to revise categorical eligibility should not be finalized. The flexibility afforded by broad-based categorical eligibility (BBCE) is critical to reducing administrative burden and simplifying the SNAP application process for both state agencies and households in need.   

More information is available at: https://www.fns.usda.gov/snap/fr-061021.

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