Rep. Roybal-Allard SNAP Eligibility Letter to HHS

Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA-40), along with Reps. Karen Bass (D-CA-37), Judy Chu (D-CA-27), Luis Correa (D-CA-46), Barbara Lee (D-CA-13), Ted Lieu (D-CA-33), Linda Sánchez (D-CA-38), Brad Sherman (D-CA-30), and Norma Torres, (D-CA-35), send a letter to urge Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra to temporarily accept Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) eligibility as proof of Head Start eligibility, following the provisions in the Head Start Act and Program Performance Standards that prescribe eligibility for children whose families are “eligible for public assistance.”

This simple change would facilitate enrollment for the 80 percent of SNAP recipients who already qualify for Head Start based on income under the federal poverty level but are either unaware of their eligibility or reluctant to undergo the process of proving their eligibility for Head Start after having already done so for SNAP. The inclusion of SNAP would also increase Head Start eligibility to serve the smaller number of SNAP households that earn over the federal poverty level. This includes families in the increasing number of cities and states, such as California, where a single full-time minimum wage job places a family of four over the federal poverty level, putting Head Start out of reach for families who urgently need it.

Considering SNAP as public assistance will immediately allow additional families to access available Head Start slots and will help programs serve more families and children. This temporary modification will also allow the administration time to research the long-term feasibility of making SNAP a permanent inclusion in the definition of “public assistance” eligibility.

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