Over 900,000 Missourians were living in poverty in 2016 and nearly 290,000 are children. Two bills in the House HB 1443 and HB 1486 would punish these Missouri children who have no control over their circumstances. HB 1486 would cut off SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) food benefits as a penalty for failing to meet federal work requirements. HB 1486 takes away TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) benefits as a punishment for a prohibited SNAP or TANF purchase.
Indivisible Missouri opposes HB 1486 and HB 1443 because:
HB 1486 punishes those who fail to meet federal SNAP work requirements by cutting off food benefits even if they are the head of household. For families living in extreme poverty meeting these requirements can be incredibly difficult if not impossible, and by cutting off benefits for the entire household, children will go without the food and nutrition they need.
Children would be punished for their parents’ actions and forced to go without food benefits for three to six months or permanently through no fault of their own. Under HB 1486, if a disqualified individual is the head of a household, the household would then be ineligible to receive SNAP under HB 1486 for a period of three to six months or permanently disqualified. To withhold food benefits as punishment is utterly unconscionable.
Hunger causes stress and stress is harmful for a child’s mental and physical development. If a child lives with the stress of food insecurity, it can lead to lasting damage to health, learning, and behavior. “The future of any society depends on its ability to foster the healthy development of the next generation.” We must insure that all Missouri children have the nutrition they need.
HB 1443 places further restrictions on purchases using SNAP and Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) benefits. Under HB 1443, an individual who purchases a prohibited item or makes a purchase in a prohibited establishment using SNAP or TANF funds could lose TANF benefits for a period of two years. TANF funds help families in poverty pay for essential living expenses. Children should not have to suffer the traumatic consequences of losing this necessary benefit due to a parent’s ill-considered action.
Sample Call Script:
“Hi, my name is __________, I'm a constituent from ___________, and I am calling to ask Representative ________to vote NO on HB 1486 and HB 1443 because _____________.”
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