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June 13, 2024

Rep. Barragán, Sen. Welch Introduce SNAP Recertification Reform Act


13 June 2024

Contact: Kevin G. McGuire, 202-538-2386 (mobile)

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congresswoman Nanette Barragán (CA-44) and Senator Peter Welch (D-VT) introduced the SNAP Recertification Reform Act, a bill that would give states and qualifying SNAP applicants the flexibility to waive the recertification interview, and would direct state agencies to provide the option for a phone or virtual interview to applicants should the agency require an interview for renewal of benefits.

In-person renewal interviews for SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) applicants are often obstacles to benefits access because the questions asked are repetitive of documentation that applicants already submitted by the time of the interview. Agency caseworker backlogs can also lead to applicants receiving written notice of their interview after the agency-assigned interview date.

In Fiscal Year 2023, out of the 33 million total SNAP applications nationally, over 12 million were renewals. By requiring both agency and applicant consent to waive a recertification interview, applicants still have the opportunity to speak with their caseworker to get questions answered or update information in the application paperwork if needed.

“For Americans on SNAP, the few dollars a day they receive in assistance can determine if they get to eat that day.” said Rep. Barragán. “Hungry Americans should not fear their SNAP benefits will be cut off. This fear is common for people who rely on this assistance like college students and working-class Americans. Going to class or work should not be a barrier for Americans to renew their SNAP support and put food on the table.”

“Hunger is an urgent concern in Vermont, and thousands of Vermonters rely on programs like SNAP to help put food on the table. That’s why we need to do everything we can to make accessing SNAP faster and easier, including streamlining processes that determine applicants’ program eligibility. This bill will expedite folks’ ability to access SNAP by giving states the authority to waive recertification interviews for SNAP recipients, helping avoid lapses in benefits for folks already struggling to make ends meet,” said Senator Welch

“The SNAP recertification interview requirement stands in between hardworking, hungry students and their next meal. Removing the red tape will make it easier for students to earn a degree without worrying about their basic needs. We’re thankful for the work of Sen. Welch and Rep. Barragán that could benefit millions of Americans,” said Student Defense.

“Hunger Free Vermont applauds Senator Welch and Representative Barragán for taking action to eliminate steps in the recertification process for SNAP benefits that place an unnecessary burden on both program participants and state governments, and that all too often lead to people and families losing access to essential food benefits for which they are eligible,’ says Anore Horton, Executive Director of Hunger Free Vermont. ‘We all contribute to funding SNAP, our most effective and expansive food security program, and we all deserve a simple and easy application and recertification process when we need it,” said Hunger Free Vermont.

Endorsing organizations: California Association of Food Banks; Center for Law & Social Policy (CLASP); Hunger Free Vermont; Los Angeles Regional Food Bank; National Student Legal Defense Network (StudentDefense); Vermont Food Bank

Read the full text here.

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Congressmember Nanette Barragán represents California’s 44th District.  She sits on the House Energy and Commerce Committee and works on environmental justice and healthcare issues.  She is also Chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC).