Broad-based Categorical Eligibility and School Meals

The Trump administration recently proposed a rule to gut states’ option to use broad-based categorical eligibility (Cat El) for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). If adopted, the rule would eliminate SNAP benefits for 3.1 million people, and jeopardize more than 500,000 children’s access to free school breakfast and lunch.

With the attack on general assistance already affecting so many, including Mental Health Partnerships participants and their families, we must make our voices heard on this matter.

Right now, states have the option to provide free or reduced breakfast and lunch for students whose families make up to 200% of the poverty line when taking into account net asset allowable costs such as shelter, utilities and child care. The broad-based categorical eligibility option also allows states to eliminate the outdated, and administratively complicated, SNAP asset tests.

Pennsylvania currently applies both of these policies: net income and elimination of SNAP asset tests. PA estimates a $2.2M annual cost saving to the state by NOT using SNAP asset tests. Over 200,000 Pennsylvanians could lose SNAP benefits; 11% of those currently using SNAP. This is an estimate of about 120,000 households; 84,000 (70%) of which include a senior or person with a disability.

Here is a very good article discussing this issue.

How Can You Help?

Go here to submit your comment today! We have until Monday, September 23rd, to do so.

Gregory Fortunato