Congressman John Sarbanes (D-Md.) and the Maryland Congressional Delegation today urged Congressional Leadership to expand and strengthen the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) in the next COVID-19 relief package.
“SNAP plays a critical role in our nation’s social safety net and helps protect families – especially women, young children and seniors – from poverty and hunger,” the Members wrote. “A statewide stay-at-home order and the closure of non-essential businesses have left many of our state’s residents out of work, struggling to pay their bills and meet basic needs. Many Marylanders have turned to their local food banks and SNAP for assistance.”
The Members continued: “We request that you increase the maximum SNAP benefit for all recipients by increasing the thrifty food plan by at least 15 percent to all households and increase the monthly minimum SNAP benefit from $16 to $30 for all households. A 15 percent increase to the maximum benefit is equivalent to an additional $25 per person per month. Currently, the average SNAP benefit per person is $1.40 per meal each day – which is not enough to purchase a meal, especially in a high-cost state like Maryland.”
The Members also emphasize the need to strengthen SNAP against any harmful regulations, including three attempts last year by the Trump Administration to undermine the program: “These rules would needlessly cut off SNAP benefits for tens of thousands of Marylanders and should never take effect, but this is especially the case during the COVID-19 pandemic.”
In addition, the Members called on Congressional leaders to make low-income and underrepresented college students eligible for the program: “We request that you expand SNAP eligibility to certain college students, specifically students who receive the maximum Pell Grant award, are in foster care, a veteran of the Armed Forces or are classified as an unaccompanied youth who is homeless.”