MAZON Decries “Cruel” and “Wrong-Headed” Efforts to Restrict SNAP, Instead Supports Bill to Increase Assistance

March 14, 2023

MAZON strongly criticized proposals that would increase existing limits on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps).

“These cruel proposals send the message that people suffering from hunger somehow don’t deserve help,” said Abby J. Leibman, MAZON’s President & CEO. “Wrong-headed efforts like this will always backfire, because tightening restrictions on programs like SNAP will only deepen and increase food insecurity for those who are struggling.”

Current SNAP work requirements restrict essential benefits for “able-bodied adults without dependents” between ages 18 and 49. Congressman Dusty Johnson of South Dakota introduced legislation today to expand this category to age 65. Earlier this year, Senator Rick Scott of Florida introduced similar legislation that would raise the restriction to age to 59. Both bills would also bar states from seeking a waiver for the “ABAWD time limit,” even if they lack sufficient jobs to provide employment for those in need.

“Let’s put aside for a moment that SNAP is not a work program — it’s a nutrition program. Let’s ignore the fact that until a few years ago, people were encouraged to retire and stop working at age 62. Let’s pretend that the number of seniors receiving SNAP is not way too low and the real issue for them is access to the program in the first place,” Leibman added. “We should not be accusing people of getting SNAP when they don’t deserve it. We should be making it easier for people to get help when they need it, rather than punishing them and imposing even more restrictions.”

Instead, Leibman welcomed the Improving Access to Nutrition Act, which was recently introduced by Congresswoman Barbara Lee of California and Congresswoman Alma Adams of North Carolina. MAZON’s 2023 Farm Bill priorities include strengthening SNAP and other federal nutrition programs, removing barriers to SNAP for specific populations like military families and single mothers, empowering tribal food sovereignty and food security in Indian Country, and improving equity for the people of Puerto Rico.