Take Action: Protect families, seniors, and people with disabilities.

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Last Friday, the NC Senate approved the state’s budget bill. Part of that bill includes plans to cut 133,000 people—51,000 of whom are children – from Food and Nutrition Services. Second Harvest Food Bank sees, every day, the important, stabilizing impact that FNS has on families as they work to regain their footing through an uneven economic recovery. The proposed bill will further jeopardize the health and stability of these families. Further, as a federally funded program, the proposed cuts offer no cost savings for our state.

Who will this impact? The Senate’s budget impacts 130,000 North Carolinians, including 51,000 children. In the 18 counties served by Second Harvest Food Bank and our partner network, this would affect 27,757 people, including 10,548 children. 36% of the households that will lose food assistance have children, 28% support seniors, and 23% are households that include disabled persons.

What is “categorical eligibility?” The proposed bill impacts people who are “categorically eligible” for FNS (food stamps). The Categorical Eligibility rule makes anyone who qualifies for another North Carolina poverty assistance program for households with incomes up to 200 percent of the federal poverty level automatically eligible for food stamps as well. This streamlines the administrative process for poverty programs funded by federal dollars, not state budgets, and leaves greater resources available to help prevent families from falling deeper into poverty.

How would these cuts impact families? Nothing less that the health and vitality of individual lives and our communities is what is at stake when struggling families loose access to healthy and nutritious food. We and our on-the-ground partners are witnesses to the often heroic efforts of families struggling to balance their most basic needs against one another. We see how food becomes the fall guy, how families buy less or buy foods of poor nutritional quality to fill their needs, and we see how this can further compromise the health of families who are already facing health issues. We and our network partners are doing all in our power to provide healthy food for families, but it must be understood that the FNS program provides a critical line of defense against the consequences of hunger for families and our communities.

How would these cuts impact communities? When families don’t have modest resources to purchase groceries in their area, the economy suffers. While the average impacted household only received $68.74 a month in assistance, for many communities FNS adds to the local economy.

Will this save North Carolina money? No. FNS (food stamps) is supported through federal funding and will not change the bottom line on NC’s budget. However, compromising the ability of individuals to access adequate nutrition can have both short and long term impacts on community health. Furthermore, retailers that accept FNS will lose funds that FNS adds to the economy.

Will these cuts cost North Carolina money? It is likely it will. Not only do these cuts hurt North Carolina residents directly, but it also will increase administrative costs at the Department of Health and Human Services. The impact will be time consuming and costly, as case workers will need to run case-by-case evaluations and asset tests.

TAKE ACTION: Please call your NC House Representative and insist that they move to strike the provision in Section 11C.11.c, on page 142 of the budget bill that would ban DHHS from granting “categorical eligibility.”

Find your representative here.

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Find Your Way to Feed Community.

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$1 provides 7 meals.

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#health #foodstamps #children #hunger #SNAP #NWNC #HouseofRepresentatives #northcarolina #foodinsecurity #SecondHarvestFoodBank

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