(This story now appears on the Grandparents pages of our website, but it's worth sharing here as well. For more about the agency's Grandparents programs available in Rio Arriba, Santa Fe, and Taos counties, visit here)
There is some troubling news circulating about legislation before Congress that could impact Grandparents Raising Grandchildren:
We've just received additional information that the US House of Representatives is hearing the "Farm Bill" this week, of which the SNAP benefits conversation is part, and voting on this bill is likely to take place this week as well (the week of May 7, 2018).
Two crucial programs for grandfamilies - SNAP Supplemental Nutrition Program (formerly known as food stamps) and Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) - are being considered for major changes. These changes would severly impact the ability of grandfamilies to qualify for these much-needed programs.
Stories from families that have benefited from these programs are being solicited to show the value of preserving them. If you or a family you know or work with has benefited from SNAP and/or TANF, please contact Adam Ott (firstname.lastname@example.org?subject=SNAP%20and%20TANFemail@example.com) so an interveiw can be set up with you or to write up your story to share with members of Congress. Additionally, if you or a family you know have tried to apply for SNAP or TANF but encountered a barrier, those stories are being sought a well.
Here is a little more about the the harmful changes to SNAP that Congress is considering:
- Requiring the state to pursue child support from parents when the grandfamily caregiver of the parent's child applies for SNAP. This can endanger children in grandfamilies when it results in parents threatening relatives or try to take the children. In addition, relatives are often conflicted about adding the burden of child support to the children's parents who may already be struggling to improve their lives.
- Requiring careivers under age 60 to work a minimum number of hours per week. This can prove difficult for caregivers who have to reduce their hours or are unable to work in order to better care for children.
- Reducing the income elegibility. To qualify to receive any nutrition assistance under the propsoed changes, a caregiver under 60 raising one child would have to make less than $21,500 per year
There are also a series of damaging changes expected to be proposed for the TANF program. We will update you when more information is available.
Your voices matter! Please contact Adam Ott at the email address/link above so that stores can be collected and shared. Thank you!