Mathematica’s Karen Cunnyngham Testifies Before House Agriculture Subcommittee as Congress Examines USDA’s Proposed Changes to SNAP Waiver Rules

Apr 03, 2019

Karen CunnynghamAt an April 3 hearing of the House Committee on Agriculture, Subcommittee on Nutrition, Oversight, and Department Operations, Mathematica’s Karen Cunnyngham presented testimony about the potential impact of the U.S Department of Agriculture’s proposed changes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). The proposed changes would impose stricter standards for states requesting waivers for time limits on SNAP recipients’ benefits. During the hearing, titled “Examining the Proposed ABAWD Rule and its Impact on Hunger and Hardship,” Cunnyngham summarized findings from a recent study commissioned by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation that examined the characteristics of SNAP participants who could be affected by the proposed regulatory change. Her testimony described how, among the SNAP participants potentially affected by the proposed regulatory changes:

  • 97 percent live in poverty, compared with 80 percent of other SNAP participants.
  • 88 percent have household income at or below 50 percent of the poverty level, compared with 39 percent of other SNAP participants.
  • About one-third live in SNAP households with reported income; of this group, the average monthly household income is $557, or 43 percent of the poverty level.
  • 11 percent are working, although less than an average of 20 hours per week, and another 6 percent live with someone else who was working.
  • 5 percent live with a person with a disability.
  • The average monthly SNAP benefit is $181 per person, compared with $120 for other SNAP participants.
  • 78 percent live alone, compared with 23 percent of other SNAP participants.

To watch a recording of the subcommittee hearing, click here.

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