Defend Access to SNAP

HF3 Will Increase Hunger in Our State.

Farmer with Apples

House File 3, regarding SNAP, Medicaid, and other public assistance programs, was introduced the first week of the 2023 Iowa legislative session. If passed as is, the proposed bill will ultimately increase hunger and food insecurity in our state.

The SNAP Program works and is an efficient program that brings Federal Funds into the Iowa economy. In fact, every $1 spent with SNAP has a multiplying effect of $1.50-$1.80 on Iowa's economy.

Please write your Iowa House Representatives and ask them to remove these harmful provisions in the bill. Request they instead focus on the provisions that would help hard working families fight hunger, such as supporting the Double Up Food Bucks program.

Feel free to use language from these talking points on the bill.

Establishing an Asset Limit for SNAP

HF 3 would kick people off SNAP by establishing an asset limit in Iowa that would be among the most restrictive in the nation.

  • Households would face a limit of $2,750 in assets (or $4,250 if at least one member of the household is 60+ or disabled).
  • Households with more than one vehicle would be especially at risk of losing eligibility for SNAP benefits. The value of a household’s primary residence and one vehicle would be excluded, as would retirement accounts. But having a vehicle can be the difference between finding employment or not, especially in rural areas of the state and areas without public transit.
  • Most states have moved away from asset limits for SNAP, and with good reason. Asset limits have been shown to discourage people who are eligible from applying for SNAP, increase administrative costs, and discourage people from saving for emergencies.
  • Children’s savings accounts would count toward the asset limit for the household.

Requiring Parents to Cooperate with the Child Support Recovery Unit

Custodial parents would be required to cooperate or lose access to SNAP benefits.

  • The vast majority of low-income families already participate in the Child Support program (82% of eligible families in poverty) and those who don't have good reasons (for example, they are fleeing an abusive relationship).
  • There is no way to implement this provision that does not result in taking food away from children.
  • There is no evidence this type of policy generates significantly more child support payments to custodial households.
  • The National Child Support Enforcement Association (NCSEA) opposed a similar measure in the 2018 Farm Bill.

Increasing Eligibility and Verification Requirements

IHHS does an excellent job HF3 would drown the agency in excessive alerts and paperwork actually hurts payment accuracy, potentially putting Iowa at risk of federal fines in the future.

  • Monthly and quarterly eligibility verification checks have the potential to make program participants jump through additional hoops and remove people from benefits for which they are eligible.
  • Computerized identity authentication questionnaire would present an barrier to many people, especially those without internet access, no credit history, or limited English proficiency. Were this to be an option, not a requirement, it could have the potential to increase access for SNAP applicants with transportation or medical barriers.
  • New mandatory "employment and training" program would be very costly to for Iowa to implement and redundant to existing federal work requirements.
  • Restricting SNAP purchases to only foods on the WIC-approved food item list would severely limit what people could buy. SNAP recipients could no longer purchase meat, other than certain varieties of canned tuna and salmon. Meat, Poultry, and Seafood is the #1 food category purchased by SNAP participants nationwide, amounting to 1 in every 5 dollars of SNAP benefits spent.