SNAP Works for Hoosiers

Protect the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program

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  • 12 Nov 2018 4:15 PM | Emily Weikert Bryant (Administrator)

    Program helps nearly 1.4 million low-income veterans, including thousands in Indiana

    As the nation observes Veterans Day, SNAP Works for Hoosiers is calling on Congress to support veterans by passing a farm bill that protects and strengthens the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), which new data shows helps almost 1.4 million low-income veterans across the country put food on their tables, including 24,000 Hoosiers.

    Formerly known as food stamps, SNAP is one of the nation’s best anti-poverty programs. SNAP helps 672,000 get back on their feet and pay for groceries,including seniors, people with disabilities, and many workers who are in between jobs or working a job with unstable hours and few benefits. This is particularly important for low-income veterans, who may be struggling to find a job, working in low-wage jobs, or have disabilities. Veterans often face unique barriers as they seek to resume or rebuild their civilian lives and start new careers. For example, young veterans who leave active duty may have little work experience beyond military service or may have trouble finding a job that matches their skills. Young recent male veterans have higher unemployment rates and lower labor force participation rates than similar civilians, which can make it harder for them to afford enough to eat.

    “Our lawmakers must be able to agree that, in the United States of America, no veteran should go hungry,” said Emily Weikert Bryant. “That’s why, this Veterans Day, we’re calling on Congress to support people who have bravely served our nation in uniform by passing a farm bill that protects and strengthens SNAP.”

    Although the benefits of SNAP are clear, the program’s future remains less so. The farm bill passed on a bipartisan basis by the U.S. Senate in June protects SNAP for veterans and others who are struggling and strengthens programs that can help veterans on SNAP get and keep a good-paying job. In contrast, the version of the bill approved by the U.S. House would cause many veterans and others to lose food assistance through expanded harsh work requirements. Members of both houses are currently working to reach agreement on a final farm bill, but President Trump has expressed strong support for the House proposal to take away food assistance from people who don’t meet a rigid work requirement.

    “The bipartisan farm bill passed by the Senate affirms what millions of people across the country know to be true: SNAP reduces hunger and poverty, and protecting and strengthening SNAP—not cutting it—is the right way forward,” said Bryant. “We thank Senator Donnelly and Senator Young for voting for the Senate farm bill and urge them to work with their colleagues to ensure that the final farm bill is based on the Senate’s SNAP provisions.”

  • 7 Sep 2018 10:54 AM | Emily Weikert Bryant (Administrator)
    As President of the Indiana Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, I write today on behalf of over 900 pediatricians and pediatric nurse practitioners throughout the state who are concerned that a major health concern facing the children of Indiana is being overlooked: hunger.

    Far too many Hoosiers struggle to put enough food on the table, and many are forced to worry about where and how they will get their next meal. Nationwide, over 15 million households report being unable to afford enough food for an active, healthy life year-round. At all ages, hunger has measurable and dangerous consequences.
    That’s why I often suggest my patients in need turn to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP. Formerly called food stamps, SNAP provides modest benefits – on average only about $1.30 per person per meal – to make adequate, nutritious food more available. It’s one of our most successful anti-poverty programs, helping nearly 672,000 in Indiana, and it’s a solution to some of our community’s most pressing health needs.

    Congress is currently considering two different versions of a bill that will affect this important program. The Senate version of the bill protects SNAP, ensuring that it can continue its crucial role as the most important anti-hunger programs we have. In fact, the bill even strengthens the program by testing new tools to help it run more smoothly. Further, it supports states that are testing innovative solutions to help SNAP participants — many of whom work in low-wage jobs with frequent turnover, and thus face periods of joblessness — find and keep a more stable job.

    Unfortunately, the House took a very different approach, endangering many in our community and across the country, which is a major reason why it barely received enough votes to pass. The House bill would take away food assistance from 2 million struggling Americans, including children, older workers, and veterans. It would do this by cutting nearly $19 billion in SNAP benefits and diverting much of that money to a risky new scheme of ineffective work programs with harsh penalties. It also imposes complex and burdensome reporting requirements that could take away food assistance from people who are already working or who would otherwise qualify for an exemption.

    The House bill makes several other changes that create more barriers to SNAP, such as increasing paperwork and reversing state efforts to improve the program and make it easier to navigate. The patients I see are already struggling to stay on top of everything, including paying the bills, taking care of their kids and their health, or juggling multiple jobs. Navigating unnecessary red tape so they can feed their families is the last thing they need right now. I worry that many of them will fall through the cracks and end up losing their SNAP benefits, which will ripple into the health problems and other challenges they face.

    Research shows that people who don’t have access to healthy meals are more likely to suffer poor health outcomes. Adults that lack consistent access to food are at least 40 percent likelier to be  diagnosed with chronic conditions like hypertension, hepatitis, or a stroke. Hungry children are more likely to develop cognitive and behavioral problems, anxiety and depression, and chronic health problems like asthma and anemia. Hungry seniors are at higher risk of diabetes, depression, high blood pressure, heart attacks, gum disease, and asthma.

    Being hungry is, very simply, bad for your health - but SNAP can be part of the cure. New studies are starting to show what I see every day: The help SNAP provides may improve the health of those struggling to put enough food on the table. After adjusting for differences in demographic, socioeconomic, and other characteristics, adults who participate in SNAP have fewer sick days, make fewer visits to a doctor, are less likely to forgo needed care because they cannot afford it, and are less likely to exhibit psychological distress. Young children on SNAP are less likely to be at risk of being underweight or experiencing developmental delays compared to children in similar economic situations who are not receiving SNAP benefits. They’re also more likely to show longterm benefits from access to healthy food.

    And so, when I come home at night, after meeting a patient struggling to get enough food, I can take comfort knowing the support they need is available. I know that I can keep their health on track. But I fear this soon may not be the case, especially if the House Agriculture Committee’s proposed 2018 Farm Bill becomes law.

    Damaging cuts and changes to SNAP in the Farm Bill will hurt our communities and set back the health of working families, seniors, and people with disabilities. We cannot let Hoosiers in need go hungry. We need our elected officials to recognize the crucial importance of SNAP for our communities and commit to passing a farm bill that reflects those priorities.


    Tony GiaQuinta, MD, FAAP President, Indiana Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics


  • 31 Jul 2018 10:57 AM | Emily Weikert Bryant (Administrator)

    The Arc of Indiana is Indiana’s leading organization advocating for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families. We are closely watching the deliberations on the Farm Bill, as the House proposal would make harmful changes to a program that helps ensure people with disabilities can put food on the table.

    Having a disability or dealing with a serious illness can make earning enough money to pay the bills and put food on the table especially difficult. Research has shown that earnings typically fall by more than 75 percent within 10 years of the onset of a chronic or severe disability, accompanied by a steep drop in spending on basic necessities, like food. Over one-quarter of participants in food assistance programs nationwide have a disability that impacts their daily life or limits their ability to work, according to the 2015 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS).

    For many confronting these struggles in Indiana and nationwide, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), is part of the answer. SNAP, formerly known as food stamps, provides 119,000 Hoosiers with disabilities assistance to purchase food, helping them maintain a healthy diet.

    Unfortunately, this crucial program for people living with disabilities is now under threat. The House Farm Bill includes harmful proposals that could take away food assistance from people with disabilities. People with physical and mental health conditions could lose food assistance because they are unable to meet expanded work requirements or because they struggle to provide the written documentation to prove they are exempt from the requirements. These fears are not unfounded. There is a long history of people falling through the cracks, unable to get exemptions from work requirements even if they qualify for them—the House’s woefully underfunded proposal will only exacerbate this problem. That means thousands of people with disabilities could be cut from SNAP for various reasons not pertaining to their desire to work, leaving them with neither earnings nor food assistance.

    This bill makes several other changes that create more barriers to SNAP for people with disabilities, such as increasing paperwork and reversing state efforts to improve the program and make it easier to navigate. For example, the bill eliminates a simplification that allows participants who receive energy assistance to claim a standard deduction for utility costs. Under this change, SNAP participants would be required to produce paperwork verifying their utility costs and could face a cut in their food benefits if they struggle to do so.

    Our Indiana federal delegation and leaders in Washington, D.C., must remember the Americans living with disabilities when considering this year’s Farm Bill. We urge our leaders to not break the long history of a bipartisan commitment to ensure struggling families have enough to eat with needless and ill-conceived changes. Strengthening SNAP, not cutting it, is the right way forward.

    Cutting off SNAP – including through new and harsher work and reporting requirements – would only make it harder for people with disabilities and their families to access the food they need to work and to survive. If policymakers are serious about employment, Congress should look towards making major new investments in job training and supports and services for jobseekers with disabilities and their families.

    SNAP works for Hoosiers with disabilities. It helps them afford food and avoid poverty, and it also makes life more manageable for their loved ones and caregivers. We must do all we can to protect this crucial program and ensure it continues to serve the people it helps.

    Kim Dodson
    Executive Director
    The Arc of Indiana


  • 29 Jun 2018 8:42 AM | Emily Weikert Bryant (Administrator)

    The following is attributed to Emily Bryant, Executive Director of Feeding Indiana’s Hungry (a coalition member of SNAP Works for Hoosiers), regarding the U.S. Senate Farm Bill which passed the U.S. Senate today:

    “We are encouraged by the passage of a bipartisan Senate Farm Bill—legislation that safeguards the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and ensures that Hoosiers in need can access food to feed their families.”

    “We thank Senator Joe Donnelly (D-Indiana) and his staff for their work throughout the process. Sen. Donnelly’s amendments improved the bill and will assist Hoosiers that are struggling to put food on the table.”

    “We thank both Senators, Joe Donnelly (D-Indiana) and Todd Young (R-Indiana) for supporting the bill on final passage this evening.”

    # # #

    SNAP Works for Hoosiers is a campaign of Feeding Indiana's Hungry and the Indiana Institute for Working Families. You can find us on Facebook, Twitter, and at SNAPWorks4Hoosiers.org

    Note to press:

    The above-mentioned legislation refers to the Senate version of the Farm Bill (now named H.R. 2) which passed the Senate last evening by overwhelming margins (roll call of 86-11). The bill will now go to conference where leaders from the House and Senate will hash out their differences in the House and Senate versions of the bill. For further info, please don’t hesitate to inquire.

    Need further expert commentary? We will provide subject matter experts upon request. Please don’t hesitate to contact Lindsay to arrange more detailed comments suited for your story/angle.

  • 21 Jun 2018 8:07 PM | Emily Weikert Bryant (Administrator)

    The following is attributed to Emily Bryant, Executive Director of Feeding Indiana’s Hungry (a coalition member of SNAP Works for Hoosiers), regarding H.R. 2, the U.S. House Farm Bill which passed the U.S. House today:

    “We are disappointed in the narrow passage of a deeply polarizing House Farm Bill designed to eviscerate the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and overload Hoosier SNAP recipients with layers of red tape.”

    “We remain hopeful the U.S. Senate will pass its version of the Farm Bill (S.3042) without amendments designed to cut SNAP or make harmful changes that would take away food assistance from Hoosiers struggling to put food on the table.”


  • 18 May 2018 9:22 AM | Amy Carter (Administrator)

    Today: Ask your Representative to Vote NO to New Work Requirement Red Tape for Nutrition Assistance for Hoosiers!

    The House will vote on H.R.2, otherwise known as the farm bill, today. Included in this bill are dangerous and harmful changes to the work requirements in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP or food stamps) that could put more Hoosiers at risk of hunger. While SNAP already contains work requirements for some applicants, these new changes expand the pool subject to work requirements and alters how work hours are counted for the month.

    Work requirements aren’t the same as workforce development, and Indiana isn’t equipped to handle a sudden influx of new applicants to SNAP job training programs. Many SNAP recipients are not expected to work, like children, the elderly, and individuals with disabilities. Many other SNAP recipients do work, but in jobs that do not pay a self-sufficient wage. Under the new requirements, an estimated 105,000 Hoosiers would need job training slots or to find employment; however, in March 2018 we only served 5,437 Hoosiers in the SNAP Impact program. Under the new bill, job training spots are guaranteed to those who need them. Indiana will have a hard time ramping up existing programs or creating new ones in the given time to serve this huge increase.  While the farm bill does invest funds in the training programs, it does so with an inadequate amount. Estimates are that the farm bill will provide about $30/month for each participant. Quality and meaningful job training programs costs thousands of dollars.

    Better ways to support work include:

    • Increasing benefits (the average benefit per person is $1.30/meal) and reducing unintended benefit cliffs,
    • Providing voluntary and meaningful job readiness services,
    • Providing voluntary and meaningful adult basic education, skills training/industry credentials, and/or higher education.

    We also need to consider the paperwork burden this puts on recipients and the state. Under this bill, not only will state government be verifying income and assets, it will also have to verify 20 weekly work hours, instead of the old system where 80 hours per month were required. While this seems like splitting hairs, it is a dramatic change for those whose jobs provide no paid leave - Indiana has repeatedly rejected paid leave as a topic for summer study committees - or have inconsistent hours. Under this new system, one week where a person is sent home early or they have to take a day off for illness or to care for a sick child could be the difference between having food and not. Meanwhile, this leaves room for potential error on the part of the state agency charged with enrollment. While the negative error rate – the rate at which the state denies SNAP benefits when the household was actually eligible – varies month to month, it was 44 percent in the last month when data is available (November 2017).  This means families are mistakenly denied SNAP at much too high a rate. Increased work requirements will only put more Hoosiers at risk of hunger if their benefits do not come through.

    Congress should keep SNAP’s focus where it belongs – on effectively providing nutrition assistance to those who need it. Please call your Representatives at 202-224-3131 and ask them to VOTE NO on H.R.2 aka the Farm Bill.


  • 17 Apr 2018 3:25 PM | Emily Weikert Bryant (Administrator)

    The House Farm Bill was released on April 12, 2018. The bill includes a number of harmful cuts to federal nutrition programs that would have significant negative impact on the people we serve.

    We need your help to act immediately to voice your opposition to the bill's cuts by calling your Representative. The bill will be marked up in committee tomorrow, April 18th!

    Please use the following talking points to call your Member of Congress at 1-888-398-8702.

    [If applicable: I am calling from (organization) and serve in (community name) which the Congressperson serves.]

    I am deeply concerned about the Farm Bill proposal just released by the House Agriculture Committee. The bill's severe cuts to the SNAP program through burdensome and unnecessary time limits and restrictions on eligibility will increase hunger and hardship by taking away food assistance from many struggling Americans, including children in working families and older adults. This will lengthen the lines at pantries and other sites that serve hungry people.

    These changes will not help people find work. Instead the bill will take food away from people when they need it most, and actually make it harder for them find a job.

    Food banks will not be able to meet the increased need for food that these proposed SNAP cuts will create. As a result, the bill will increase hunger in our community.

    I urge you to oppose this proposal, and to work with Chairman Conaway and House Leadership to pass a bipartisan Farm Bill that protects SNAP from harmful cuts and changes.

    Thank you for your time and your support!

    End Hunger,

    SNAP Works for Hoosiers
    Emily Weikert Bryant
    Jessica Fraser
    Amy Carter


  • 13 Apr 2018 3:52 PM | Emily Weikert Bryant (Administrator)

    For Immediate Release

    Media Contact: Emily Weikert Bryant, Co-Chair | ewbryant@feedingindianashungry.org | 317-452-9829

    SNAP WORKS FOR HOOSIERS OPPOSES CUTS TO HUNGER RELIEF IN HOUSE FARM BILL

    Calls on Indiana delegation to put people facing hunger in Indiana first

    The following statement is attributable to Emily Weikert Bryant, Executive Director of Feeding Indiana’s Hungry and co-chair of the SNAP Works for Hoosiers campaign.

    “We are deeply concerned by the policies included within Chairman Conaway’s 2018 Farm Bill that would increase hunger and hardship by taking away—or cutting—food assistance from many struggling Americans, including children in working families.

    “SNAP helps 1 in 8 Americans across the country afford groceries—and 1 in 10 Hoosiers. For every meal the network of Feeding America members provides, SNAP provides 12. Significant cuts like this to SNAP will create a hunger gap the charitable sector cannot fill.

    “Policies that will take SNAP benefits away from people who don’t work or participate in training for a set number of hours each month will do little to help people find jobs. Instead, it will make it harder for millions of people to put food on the table – including parents raising kids, people with disabilities, older workers, low-wage workers, and people temporarily in between jobs.

    “This was a missed opportunity to work on a bipartisan basis to strengthen SNAP and to make meaningful investments in job training and education programs that would provide low-wage workers with the opportunity to move up the economic ladder.

    “Unfortunately, this approach will jeopardize the historically bipartisan Farm Bill and put critical nutrition programs and rural communities at risk.

    “While we understand that a piece of legislation like the Farm Bill involves compromises and competing priorities, ensuring that Americans have the ability to put food on the table should be considered fundamental. No one deserves to go hungry. Any reductions to the SNAP program whatsoever should be deemed unacceptable by members of our Indiana Congressional delegation.”

    # # #

    SNAP Works for Hoosiers is a campaign of Feeding Indiana's Hungry and the Indiana Institute for Working Families. You can find us on Facebook, Twitter, and at SNAPWorks4Hoosiers.org.


  • 5 Apr 2018 2:15 PM | Amy Carter (Administrator)

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE           
    Media contact: Emily Weikert Bryant, 317-452-9829

    Farm Bill Must Not Cut SNAP
    Program Is Vital to Many Hoosiers

    There’s so much that’s rewarding about working with Indiana’s Feeding America affiliate food banks and I am privileged to have the chance to help Hoosiers struggling to get by. It’s comforting to know that when people in our communities face hardship, they have somewhere to turn. 

    But the support our food banks provide can only go so far. Many of the people we see each day also use the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, to help put food on their families’ tables. 

    SNAP has a major impact on families, seniors, and communities in our state and across the country. Here in Indiana, SNAP helped 672,000 people last year. That’s one in ten Hoosiers who has been laid off, has experienced a serious illness, or who otherwise might need a little extra help to get by in hard times. Nationwide, nearly two-thirds of the people who SNAP helps are children, seniors, or people with disabilities. 

    New developments in Washington could put these Hoosiers at risk.

    President Trump and Congress just enacted a deeply partisan, unpopular, and harmful tax bill that gives tax cuts to the wealthy and large corporations while ultimately raising taxes on millions of lower- and middle- income families and increasing the federal deficit. Now, to pay for it, some Republican leaders are saying they plan to make cuts and harmful changes to SNAP and other vital programs in the budget and Farm Bill. 

    As Congress works to finalize the federal budget and the Farm Bill, I hope our Indiana delegation understands how important SNAP is to our communities and fights to protect it. If SNAP is cut, food banks and pantries across the country simply won’t be able to make up the difference. SNAP cuts will mean more Hoosiers confronting poverty and hunger. SNAP cuts wouldn’t create jobs or raise anyone’s wages – they would just make it harder for struggling families to put food on the table and get back on their feet.

    SNAP benefits are extremely modest, in Indiana amounting to just $1.30 per person per meal, but they make a big difference for the people who receive them. When families use SNAP to cover part of their grocery bill every month, they have more take-home pay left for rent, utilities, and other bills. SNAP is also one of the best anti-poverty programs we have, keeping 224,000 Hoosiers out of poverty every year. 

    Protecting SNAP isn’t just about reducing poverty now; it’s also about a better future for our children. One in four of our nation’s children uses SNAP to help get enough to eat, including 397,900 in Indiana. And research shows that people who received SNAP as young children are more likely to graduate from high school and less likely to suffer from costly long-term health problems like obesity and heart disease.

    SNAP also has economic benefits that extend far beyond the people the program helps directly. In fact, 5,297 businesses, including local grocery stores and retailers, see $1.07 billion pumped into our economy every year thanks to the program. A stronger economy means more jobs, higher wages, and fewer people who need to come to food banks and pantries – which is a very good thing. Cutting SNAP benefits or imposing stricter requirements on participants isn’t the way to get to these positive outcomes that we all want.

    It frightens me to think that those working hard to make ends meet could face even more hardship because of decisions that our members of Congress will be making. By protecting SNAP and other critical programs, our elected officials can give our neighbors greater security and stability and a brighter future. I hope our Indiana Congressional delegation members will make the right choice. 

    Statement attributable to Emily Weikert Bryant, Executive Director of Feeding Indiana's Hungry and co-chair of the SNAP Works for Hoosiers campaign.


  • 13 Feb 2018 2:07 PM | Amy Carter (Administrator)

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE           
    Media contact: Emily Weikert Bryant, 317-452-9829

    Statement attributable to Emily Weikert Bryant, Executive Director of Feeding Indiana's Hungry and co-chair of the SNAP Works for Hoosiers campaign.

    Yesterday, President Trump announced his budget proposal for fiscal year 2019. We are dismayed to see that this administration is laying out a plan that sets a dangerous course for many low income and vulnerable Hoosiers.

    Most devastating are the proposed cuts and structural changes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). This budget proposal would cut SNAP by $213 billion over ten years—cutting a third of existing funding—that will impact 90% of SNAP clients by reducing the amount of benefits the household receives and replacing a portion of it with a government-run food box distribution program. This proposal undermines the basic dignity the SNAP program currently provides to recipients who are able to shop for what their family needs and wants at any one of Indiana’s more than 5,000 retail vendors accepting SNAP, and more than 260,000 around the country. This public-private partnership is a fundamental aspect of the SNAP program that creates economic investment in local communities through grocery shopping at retail stores using SNAP benefits. 

    Further, the proposal completely eliminates the Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP), which is designed to help low-income seniors with monthly distributions of food items selected to provide seniors with the kind of nutrition they need to be healthy.

    These cuts and program changes don’t occur in a vacuum. The President’s budget also proposes cuts to housing, health care, and income assistance programs that will affect many Hoosiers and harm their economic security and wellbeing. 

    In Indiana, 630,000 Hoosiers participate in the SNAP program. 73 percent of Indiana SNAP participants are in families with children. 31 percent of participants are in families with a person who is elderly or has a disability. Further, this program infused more than one billion dollars in the state economy in 2016.

    Charity cannot begin to make up for these proposed cuts to fundamental programs that meet a basic need. Indiana’s Feeding America affiliate food banks distribute just one meal for every 12 meals that SNAP can provide. 

    We hope that the members of the Indiana Congressional delegation reject these and any similarly unconscionable plans to cut anti-hunger programs and others that will harm low-income and hungry Hoosiers. It’s the right thing to do.

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