Statement from Freeholder Carmen Rodriguez

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The statement below is by Freeholder Rodriguez in regard to the Trump Administration’s proposal to eliminate categorical eligibility for SNAP.

“The Trump Administration announced this week yet another attempt to attack vulnerable Americans, threatening to eliminate nutritional assistance for millions of individuals throughout the United States. Most despicable of all, the proposal would immediately stop countless children from receiving free lunches in school, when we know that students who enter the classroom hungry are at an immediate disadvantage compared to their peers.

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as Food Stamps, helps approximately 29,000 Camden County residents in low-income households secure food for themselves and their families. The “categorical eligibility” program, which the administration is planning to eliminate, allows states to adjust the requirements for SNAP so that families who are already eligible for certain other forms of support (such as TANF) are immediately eligible for nutritional support as well.

Eliminating this technical, but critical, part of the program would mean suddenly stopping SNAP assistance to approximately three million Americans, including here in Camden County. By the administration’s estimate, 80 percent of these individuals would lose their benefits solely on the grounds that they have generated personal savings and therefore fail the “asset test” waived by nearly all states that utilize categorical eligibility.

The Freeholder Board is committed to protecting society’s most vulnerable citizens, which includes children and individuals with low incomes. If the administration has any interest at all in that goal, it must abandon this misguided and destructive position.”