Friday, April 21, 2017

Human Services Department to Hold Hearing Next Friday on Proposed SNAP Changes

The New Mexico Human Services Department (HSD) has proposed new regulations for participants in the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) in our state.

HSD released its proposed changes in a document presented to the public for comments.  A hearing will take place on Friday, April 28, 9:00 A.M.-12:00 p.m., at the Department of Health Harold Runnels Building Auditorium, 1190 St. Francis Drive in Santa Fe. (map)

As with any document, the language is bureaucratic and cumbersome. So, the New Mexico Center on Law and Poverty examined the proposal and offered these conclusions. Let's start with the Positive Points about the proposed changes.
  • Clarifies the amount of time folks are entitled to benefits once approved. Also clarifies reporting requirements,
  • Simplifies the immigrant eligibility requirement
  • Establishes only a voluntary employment and training program.
Okay, that's the good news.

Here are the Negative Changes in the new proposal, including regulations for immigrant families and work requirements.

Immigrant Families
  • Eliminates important information about immigrant eligibility
  • Eliminates critical limitation one when Income Support Division (ISD) workers can call the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency to report undocumented immigrants.
SNAP Work Requirements
  • Indicates that the state will institute a 3-month limit on SNAP for employed adults as soon as June 1, 2017--the language says this will happen unless the state has a waiver in place. The regulation does not state whether the State of New Mexico will or will not implement a waiver. This is illegal. Policy decisions that impact folks outside of the Human Services Department must be put into regulation with notice and opportunity for the public to comment. The current draft permits state to decide whether or not to implement the time limit and have no public notice requirement. 
  • The employment and training program that is available does not include sufficient programming so that if the state had to implement the 3-month limit on SNAP, there are no training program that folks could access in order to keep SNAP.
Speak Out
If you want to make your voice heard on this matter, please attend the hearing in Santa Fe a week from today.  To get on the list to testify, call (505) 827-7254.

You can also send written comments by e-mail to The deadline for e-mail comments is April 28, 2017, at 4:30 p.m.

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