The Ladder

A Blog from New America's Asset Building Program

USDA Proposes to Eliminate Asset Limits for Important Food Assistance Program

Published:  February 24, 2012
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USDA is initiating an important move to remove assets from consideration for the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations, which provides food assistance in communities where SNAP may not be accessible. Currently, asset limits for the program are set at $2,000 for most families and just over $3,000 for families with an elderly or disabled member. This move will bring asset eligibility standards in line with that adopted by most states.

It's also important to note that in making this proposal, USDA identifies several important criteria that echo arguments that we've been making for the elimination asset limits ourselves, including streamlined access, reduced administrative burden for service agencies, and consequently, reduced administrative costs. At a time where Pennsylvania and Michigan have recently reimposed asset limits for SNAP, it's encouraging to see that federal agencies are asserting their prerogative to move policy in the right direction. This may be wishful thinking on a Friday afternoon, but maybe this move indicates a broader commitment to the elimination of asset limits across other programs. With the Farm Bill up this year, we'll see if it at least applies to other food assistance programs like SNAP. 

To weigh in with your support for this proposed rule, just go here and search for FNS-2011-0036. Then, submit your comment.

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