Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Article Highlights Importance of SNAP Supplement for Seniors

As long as the 2017 budget remains unresolved, the threat continues that the State Legislature could cut the State SNAP supplement, which benefits primarily seniors and some people with disabilities. We posted a piece in the Bread New Mexico blog about this concern on Jan. 24.

An article in The New Mexican newspaper in Santa Fe on Feb. 13 offers more insights about the impact that the cuts would have on many low-income seniors in our state. According to the article (posted via The New Mexico Political Report), two influential parties are on opposing sides of the issue. Gov. Susana Martinez opposes the cuts, while the bipartisan Legislative Finance Committee (LFC), which proposed the reduction, is strongly behind the proposal.

Here are some excerpts from the article by Justin Horwath, which features a beneficiary who would be affected by the cuts. The article also quotes a couple of advocates who are friends of the Interfaith Hunger Coalition and Bread New Mexico: Ruth Hoffman, director of the the Lutheran Advocacy Ministry-New Mexico, and Sovereign Hager, staff attorney for the New Mexico Center on Law and Poverty. 
"[According to The New Mexican], the proposal to slash the state supplement to federal food stamp benefits underscores the difficult choices lawmakers face trying to find solutions for the state’s fiscal crisis, which has been exacerbated in recent years by declining oil and gas revenues,"

"Sovereign Hager [points out that] food insecurity among New Mexico’s elderly, which is among the worst in the nation, has decreased in the past decade with the state’s funding of the program. 'We do not want this to backslide,' Hager said."

 "[Ruth] Hoffman said many seniors receiving monthly Social Security benefits didn’t believe applying for food assistance was worth the trouble if they would receive only $16 per month. But applications for food assistance by those on fixed incomes increased after the state hiked the minimum benefit to $25 per month, according to Hoffman, who said the extra money may not seem like much but can buy eggs, meat and other items."
"Over the past decade, New Mexico has been dipping into its general fund to increase the minimum food stamp benefit for residents on fixed incomes, said Hoffman, who helped state officials develop the program in 2007."
Read full article, entitled Lawmakers propose cutting state food benefit program

Take Action 
The Action Request from Feb. 24 still applies. Contact your state senator and representing urging him or her to oppose elimination of the State SNAP Supplement. Find your legislators via this link (each of the profiles has an address and a phone number at the Roundhouse where you can call).

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