In June, I had the privilege of attending Bread for the World’s Lobby Day. I was part of delegations visiting aids of both Michigan senators and of Representative Huizenga. While visiting Rep. Huizenga’s aid, we discussed SNAP benefits (formerly, food stamps), and the subject of categorical eligibility (CE) came up. I must admit, that I hadn’t heard of it. The aid informed us that CE needed to be eliminated, because it was allowing the states to disregard the normal SNAP eligibility requirements, replacing them with very lax standards. I replied that I was somewhat familiar with Michigan’s SNAP eligibility rules—an income test, an asset test, and work requirements—and that these seemed restrictive to me. The aid responded that the tests I had just cited were the rules when CE was not applied, not the lax rules allowed under CE.
Well, I have done my homework now, and unless the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities and Feeding America have it all wrong, the aid was mistaken. My research has prompted me to write the following account of the current House Republican proposals on SNAP.