House bill 4001will restrict access to SNAP (formerly known as food stamps) for vulnerable populations in our state, including children, the elderly, and the disabled. The bill seeks to institute household wide asset testing in order to qualify for benefits. Asset testing has been proven to be very costly for states and ineffective. Many states have moved away from this eligibility measure.
In addition some of these measures were implemented in the nine most affluent counties in West Virginia as a pilot project in 2016. More than 5,000 individuals were no longer on the SNAP rolls, however, we don’t know why. We don’t know if they received jobs, moved away, passed away, or simply didn’t chose to apply for benefits. Most importantly, we saw a sharp increase in services needed by churches and other charities in those nine counties.
These measures send federal SNAP dollars out of the state and rely on churches and charities to feed our communities.