Legal Impact Network Members Oppose Rule That Would Restrict SNAP Benefits

With members of the Legal Impact Network, the Shriver Center has filed an amicus brief opposing a new USDA rule that would jeopardize the SNAP eligibility of nearly 700,000 individuals.

Everyone should have access to enough food to live a healthy life. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as food stamps) provides essential support to more than 15 million families across the country facing hunger, in particular because of its ability to grow and contract with economic conditions. But a new USDA rule that would impose burdensome work requirements threatens access to these important benefits for thousands of people.  

The Shriver Center, in concert with over a dozen members of the Legal Impact Network, have filed an amicus brief in the federal district court for the District of Columbia opposing implementation of the rule, which would jeopardize the SNAP eligibility of nearly 700,000 individuals.  

The new rule makes it more difficult for states to obtain waivers of a requirement that able-bodied adults without dependents work a certain number of hours to remain eligible for benefits. Further, the waiver eligibility criteria embraced by the new rule masks the impact of a history of racism and residential segregation, greatly prejudicing people of color, particularly Black people. This overly burdensome requirement disadvantages a population that already experiences significant barriers to work and will result in hunger and disproportionate suffering for Black and Brown people.  

Research shows that work requirements do not reduce poverty and are not an effective way to increase employment. Starving people does not help them find jobs, especially during a pandemic. 

Read the amicus brief. 

The brief was submitted by 14 members of the Legal Impact Network, a dynamic collaborative of advocacy organizations from across the country working with communities to end poverty and achieve racial justice at the federal, state, and local levels. Learn more about the Legal Impact Network.  

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Systemic inequities and the legacy of structural racism make it harder for low-income people and people of color to achieve financial stability.

Our laws and policies must support people by ensuring fair work at a living wage and by providing the income supports families need to be successful.

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