Comment made to the U.S. Department of Agriculture regarding a new restriction on the SNAP (Food Stamp) advocated by the Department (comment made at a vote of the attendees of the 2018 Hunger Seder):

Thank you for the opportunity to comment on the USDA’s Advanced Notice on requirements and services for Able-Bodied Adults without Dependents.

We are a faith-based organization advocating for food and nutrition programs, including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).  We had a Passover Seder on the 6th night of Passover, that we call a Hunger Seder.  At the Seder, we took a vote and decided, unanimously, to comment on these requirements and make the point that we strongly oppose any action by the Department that would expose more people to the cutoff policy that would stop their SNAP benefits.  Under the current law, states have the flexibility to waive the time limit of three-months in areas within the state that have experienced higher unemployment.

Even having an individual exemption policy, as suggested by some, does not justify weakening states’ ability to waive the time limit in areas of higher unemployment.  Our state’s ability to exempt certain individuals from the rule is important but is totally inadequate for the problem that exists — higher unemployment in areas of the state and the many people who might be affected.

Moreover, the policy as it currently exists is harsh and unfair.  It penalizes people who are having a harder time getting a job because of market conditions, whether the unemployment is elevated or just a “normal” amount of unemployment.  It harms vulnerable people by denying them food benefits at a time when they most need it.

Please do not make this policy even harsher and more unfair.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.

Signed: the 90 attendees of and advocates at the Hunger Seder, Atlanta, Georgia