DMARC Statement on SSB 3158

The Des Moines Area Religious Council strongly opposes Senate Study Bill 3158, which would kick nearly 60,000 Iowans off Food Assistance (SNAP), as well as expand work requirements to teenagers, pregnant women, caretakers, and college students and impose work requirements on Medicaid recipients. This is a bad bill that would negatively impact the health and nutrition of tens of thousands of Iowans, including a significant number of children.

SSB 3158 advanced out of subcommittee this morning (Tuesday, February 18) and has already been scheduled to come before the Senate Labor and Business Relations Committee tomorrow (Wednesday, February 19) for consideration. Please contact the Senators on the Labor and Business Relations Committee below and let them know you do not support kicking tens of thousands of Iowans off Food Assistance. More details about the specifics of the bill can be found below.

Jason Schultz, Chair District 9 Email Senator Schultz
Zach Whiting, Vice Chair District 1 Email Senator Whiting
Todd E. Taylor, Ranking Member District 35 Email Senator Taylor
Nate Boulton District 16 Email Senator Boulton
Waylon Brown District 26 Email Senator Brown
Jim Carlin District 3 Email Senator Carlin
William A. Dotzler, Jr. District 31 Email Senator Dotzler
Dennis Guth District 4 Email Senator Guth
Carrie Koelker District 29 Email Senator Koelker
Zach Nunn District 15 Email Senator Nunn
Rich Taylor District 42 Email Senator Taylor

SSB 3158 has four sections that would all negatively impact the health and nutrition of tens of thousands of Iowans now and in the future:

  1. Eliminating categorical eligibility for Food Assistance (SNAP), effectively reducing income eligibility for Food Assistance from 160% of the federal poverty level (FPL) to 130% FPL.
    • Research from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation estimates that 59,215 Iowans would no longer be eligible for Food Assistance, a full 16% of all recipients of Food Assistance in the state.
    • According to the United Way’s ALICE report, there is not a single county in Iowa with a survival budget of 130% FPL. In fact, there are no counties with a survival budget below 160% FPL. The income requirements are already too low, and we should not be making them even lower.
    • Under this bill, a single parent with one child who is working full-time at $11/hour (annual income of $22,880) would no longer be eligible for Food Assistance. A family of four with two adults working full time at $8.50/hour (annual income of $35,360) would also lose access to Food Assistance.
    • In 2019, DMARC assisted 1,846 individuals who were enrolled in Food Assistance with an income between 130-160% FPL. A full one-third of those individuals were children, and 8% were 65+.
  2. Prohibiting the state from requesting a work requirement time-limit waiver for Able-Bodied Adults Without Dependents (ABAWDs). This would prevent the state from waiving work requirements during times of high unemployment. Iowa does not currently have a waiver in place, but did during the Great Recession, like the majority of states. If the state was prohibited from requesting a waiver in times of an economic downturn, people who recently became unemployed and are at one of their most vulnerable moments would be limited to just three months of Food Assistance before being told they cannot receive any assistance for another three years if they are not working.
  3. Expanding work requirements for Food Assistance. The bill would require the state to “assign” the following people to an employment and training program if they are not working at least 20 hours a week:
    • 16 and 17 year olds
    • 51-59 year olds
    • Parents or caretakers of a child or “incapacitated person”
    • Pregnant women
    • College students
    • Participants in a drug or alcohol treatment or rehabilitation program
  4. And to top it all off, the bill would create work requirements for some people receiving Medicaid.

These proposals will do little to promote work for people enrolled in Food Assistance, and would actually take benefits away from people who are working. Tens of thousands of Iowans who are struggling to make ends meet would lose access to Food Assistance, and local governments and nonprofit organizations like DMARC would see more and more people turning to their services to help them get by.

Please contact the Senators on the Labor and Business Relations Committee today to let them know you are opposed to this bill and do not support kicking tens of thousands of Iowans off of Food Assistance.

1 Reply to "DMARC Statement on SSB 3158"

  • Hal Rusk
    February 18, 2020 (9:35 pm)

    Please defeat this proposed bill. Why is it necessary to hurt the least among us.

    Just another cut in services like a reduced strength Dept of Human Services or an understaffed Highway Patrol

    When does it stop. Low taxes aren’t everything if you don’t have adequate services.

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