Jun 23 2022
WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) applauded the Senate passage of legislation to extend critical COVID-era school lunch flexibilities that have prevented children all over the country from going hungry during the summer and throughout the school year. The passage of the Keep Kids Fed Act comes just one week before waivers are set to expire, imposing cumbersome restrictions on parents just as summer break kicks off.
“Parents across Virginia are facing higher costs across the board – the last thing they need right now is to lose the commonsense flexibilities that have made it easier for them to keep their kids fed. We’re very proud to have voted to pass bipartisan legislation that will extend these flexibilities and help keep food insecurity at bay. We hope that the House will pass this bill expeditiously and send it to the President’s desk for approval,” said the senators.
The Keep Kids Fed Act will:
- Extend flexibilities for summer meals in 2022 by waiving area eligibility so summer providers can serve all children for free and continuing options like meal delivery and grab-and-go.
- Extend some of the administrative and paperwork flexibilities for schools through the 2022-23 school year.
- Allow students with a family income at or below 185 percent of poverty level to qualify for free or reduced-cost meals for the 2022-23 school year.
- Increase the reimbursement rate for school lunch and school breakfast to help offset the increased cost of food and operating expenses. Schools will receive an additional 40 cents for each lunch and 15 cents for each breakfast served.
- Provide an additional 10 cents per meal or snack for Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) daycares and home providers, and expand eligibility to more providers. When combined, these actions will help offset increase costs for providers.
Sens. Warner and Kaine have been vocal about the need to ensure that children have continuous access to healthy meals. They have expressed alarm about the imminent expiration of the child nutrition waivers and recently pushed Senate leadership to extend these flexibilities before the waivers expire. In April, they introduced the Support Kids Not Red Tape Act – similar legislation to grant the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) additional flexibility so that schools and summer meal sites can stay open.
Warner & Kaine Join Colleagues in Calling for Extension of Child Nutrition Waivers & Measures to Curb Food Insecurity
Jun 17 2022
WASHINGTON – With summer break already underway in a number of school districts across Virginia, U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) joined Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and 30 of their Senate colleagues in a push to extend the child nutrition waivers that have kept many children from going hungry throughout the pandemic, both during the school year and in the summer. In the letter, the Senators stress the need for Congress to extend these programs before the waivers expire on June 30, 2022, as well as create a nationwide Summer EBT program and expand community eligibility (CEP) – a flexible meal service option for school districts in low-income areas.
“The pandemic has highlighted the importance of the child nutrition programs and the role they play in keeping hunger at bay for millions of children across the country. As schools close for summer across the country, families will soon lose access to free school meals and be faced with the prospect of increased food insecurity, weight gain, and learning disruptions,” wrote the Senators. “As Congress develops legislation to support families impacted by high food costs, we must help ease the burden of these challenges and ensure that these child nutrition programs can fully meet children’s nutritional needs while they are at school, afterschool and summer programs, and childcare.”
"More must be done to fuel children's health and learning as millions of families continue to struggle with the fallout of COVID-19. Extending the child nutrition waivers, expanding community eligibility, and creating a nationwide Summer EBT program are surefire ways for our nation's children to have access to the nutrition they need to grow and thrive in the classroom and beyond," said Luis Guardia, president of the Food Research & Action Center (FRAC). “We call on Congress to act quickly and include these provisions in any upcoming legislative vehicle. Hungry children can’t wait.”
“In a typical year, Boys & Girls Clubs across the country serve 95 million meals and snacks to kids at no cost. Clubs also continually adapt to support the needs of communities during times of crisis including during the peak of the pandemic, providing more than 24 million meals to nearly a half million families nationwide," said Jim Clark, president and CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of America. "Extending the child nutrition waivers is critical to support the essential needs of kids, families, and communities still recovering from the economic and social impacts of the last two years. We urge Congress to make child nutrition and hunger a priority by extending the waiver authority and investing in programs that keep youth healthy, safe, and learning.”
“Summer is underway and YMCAs across the country are working to get healthy meals to every child in need. This summer, only 1 in 7 eligible children will have access to these meals, and Congress’ unwillingness to extend child nutrition waivers beyond June 30 is hampering our ability to provide meals when kids need them most," said Suzanne McCormick, President and CEO of YMCA of the USA. “We need to be able to use every possible tool to feed kids this summer, so the recommendations outlined by Senator Gillibrand and her colleagues cannot be passed soon enough. We are hopeful Congress works to enact these provisions, which will help ensure that every child has a summer free of hunger.”
In addition to Sens. Warner, Kaine, and Gillibrand this letter was signed by Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Alex Padilla (D-CA), Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Bob Casey (D-PA), Angus King (I-ME), Tina Smith (D-MN), Raphael Warnock (D-GA), Jack Reed (D-RI), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Ed Markey (D-MA), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Mark Kelly (D-AZ), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Ben Ray Luján (D-NM), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Gary Peters (D-MI), Jeffrey Merkley (D-OR), and Chris Murphy (D-CT).
This letter is endorsed by Food Research & Action Center, YMCA of the USA, Afterschool Alliance, Boys & Girls Club of America, Feeding America, School Nutrition Association, American Heart Association, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, First Focus Campaign for Children, MomsRising, Center for Science in the Public Interest, National Parent Teacher Association, National Farm to School Network, School Superintendents Association, Save the Children, National Education Association, National Center for Health Research, Healthy Food America, Food Corps, Community Food Advocates, National CACFP Association, Society of Behavioral Medicine, Center for Food Equity & Economic Development, California Association of Food Banks, Healthy Schools Campaign, Voices for Georgia’s Children, and Georgia Statewide Afterschool Network.
Sens. Warner and Kaine have been vocal about the need to ensure that children have continuous access to healthy meals. In April, they introduced the Support Kids Not Red Tape Act – legislation to grant the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) additional flexibility so that schools and summer meal sites can stay open.
Full text of the letter is available here or below.
Dear Leader Schumer, Speaker Pelosi, Leader McConnell, and Leader McCarthy,
The pandemic has highlighted the importance of the child nutrition programs, and the role they play in keeping hunger at bay for millions of children across the country. As schools closed across the country, families faced the same challenges they face every summer when they lose access to free school meals: increased food insecurity, weight gain, and learning disruptions.
As the Senate develops legislation to support families being impacted by high food costs and provide pandemic relief, we ask that it include the following three things in any upcoming packages to help ensure that the child nutrition programs are able to support recovery from the impact of the pandemic. School children have to have access to the nutrition they need to grow and thrive while they are at school and during the summer. These provisions will also set the stage for a much stronger Child Nutrition Reauthorization that can take additional steps to ensure that the child nutrition programs are able to fully meet children’s nutritional needs while they are at school, afterschool and summer programs, and in childcare.
- Extend the Child Nutrition Waivers. The waiver authority that we provided the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) through the Families First Coronavirus Response Act of 2020 has allowed school nutrition programs, local government agencies, and nonprofit organizations to keep feeding children in the face of the numerous challenges the pandemic created by providing the necessary program flexibility. In addition, the waivers have been a critical support to school nutrition programs. According to a USDA survey of school nutrition programs during School Year 2021-2022 school year, 90 percent used the Seamless Summer Option, 92 percent reported supply chain challenges, and nearly one in four school nutrition departments reported staffing challenges ; while 51% of afterschool and summer providers reported staffing challenges.
- Expand Community Eligibility. Community eligibility offers an important and viable path forward for schools as they transition from pandemic operations. For the schools that adopted it prior to the pandemic, it transformed their school breakfast and lunch programs, allowing schools to offer meals to all students at no charge, which reduces paperwork for schools and families, and eliminates unpaid school meal fees. Most importantly, it ensures that all students have access to the nutritious meals at school that they need to learn and thrive. Under the current rules, too many high need schools are not eligible. For schools that are eligible, the reimbursement structure can keep them from adopting community eligibility. Congress should lower the eligibility threshold to make more schools eligible to implement community eligible and increase the funding (raising the multiplier from 1.6 to 2.5) so that more schools are able to implement community eligibility. And as a growing number of states move to create statewide programs that offer school meals to all students at no charge, offering a statewide community eligibility option can support those efforts.
- Create a Nationwide Summer EBT Program. This approach offers an important way to complement the Summer Nutrition Programs. When schools close, families lose access to healthy free or reduced-price school meals for their children. The result is increased food insecurity among families with children. The existing summer nutrition programs are designed to replace school meals and often support much-needed summer programming, but the reach of these meals is too low. Prior to the pandemic, just one child for every seven who count on free or reduced-price school meals during the school year were served a summer meal. A nationwide Summer EBT program would provide families an EBT card to purchase food when schools are closed. Evaluations of Summer EBT demonstrations have found that they reduce food insecurity and improve nutrition.
We look forward to working with you to include these provisions in the upcoming legislative vehicles being developed by Congress.
Warner & Kaine Announce over $600,000 in Federal Funding for Food Banks in Northern, Central, and Southwest Virginia
Jun 08 2022
WASHINGTON— Today, U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine announced $627,837 in federal funding for the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) to administer a pilot project through Feed More, Fredericksburg Regional Food Bank, and Feeding Southwest Virginia. This funding will help the food banks expand their operations and food delivery in underserved areas.
“Virginians shouldn’t have to worry about where they’re going to find their next meal,” said Sens. Warner and Kaine. “We’re glad this federal funding will be used to help food banks across Virginia expand their operations and continue providing nutritious food to underserved communities.”
The funding was awarded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) through The Emergency Food Assistance Program's (TEFAP) Reach and Resiliency Grants and will be used to reach remote, rural, and low-income areas.
During the pandemic, Warner and Kaine successfully called for the swift approval of Virginia's Request to operate a Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) program to ensure children have access to healthy food while at home. They also successfully pushed USDA to make food distribution policies more flexible for Virginia’s families. In March 2022, Warner and Kaine sent a letter urging USDA to issue guidance to better address the growing food insecurity crisis among college students. Warner and Kaine also cosponsored the Support Kids Not Red Tape Act, legislation that would extend additional flexibility so that schools and summer meal sites can stay open and continue to provide free, healthy meals for children.
May 20 2022
WASHINGTON — U.S. Senators Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine, a member of the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, applauded unanimous Senate passage of the Access to Baby Formula Act, which will help improve access to baby formula for families who participate in the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program. The legislation passed the House of Representatives yesterday and now heads to President Biden’s desk to be signed into law.
“No one should have to worry about where or how they’re going to get formula to feed their child, and we’re glad Congress is taking action to address these shortages,” said the Senators. “This bill is an important step to ensuring our most vulnerable families have access to the formula they need.”
The legislation was introduced by Congressman Bobby Scott and Congresswoman Jahana Hayes. Specifically, the Access to Baby Formula Act will:
- Establish waiver authority to address emergencies, disasters, and supply chain disruptions by ensuring states that contract with one formula manufacturer for the WIC program can secure supplies from additional manufacturers;
- Grant the U.S. Department of Agriculture the authority to waive certain requirements that can slow down the process to get formula back on the shelves, without sacrificing safety standards; and
- Facilitate coordination and information-sharing between the Secretary of Agriculture and Secretary of Health and Human Services regarding any supply chain disruption, including supplemental food recalls.
According to USDA, Abbott Nutrition’s formula products serve 89% of WIC families.
Warner and Kaine sent a letter last week calling on infant formula manufacturers to increase production and make every effort possible to get formula on shelves.
Earlier this week, Warner spoke about the importance of addressing this shortage, calling for additional funding to address the issue as well as a thorough examination of the American and worldwide supply chain issues that have contributed to this shortage. Warner also praised Senate passage of the legislation on Twitter and pledged to continue pushing for initiatives that relieve this burden.
Kaine released a video statement after new steps to address the shortages were announced, including an FDA and Abbott agreement to reopen the shuttered plant and the FDA’s move to make it easier to import formula. Kaine called on President Biden to invoke the Defense Production Act (DPA) to help ramp up formula production—a call President Biden heeded shortly after. Kaine also sent a letter to President Biden urging him to appoint a White House coordinator to address current shortages, and implement a national strategy to increase the resiliency of the infant formula supply chain and protect against future contamination and shortages.
Warner, Kaine, Stabenow & Colleagues Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Extend School and Summer Meal Flexibilities to Feed Children
Apr 01 2022
WASHINGTON — Today, U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) joined Senate Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and a bipartisan group of their colleagues in introducing the Support Kids Not Red Tape Act, which would grant the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) additional flexibility so that schools and summer meal sites can stay open and improve access to free, healthy meals for children. The additional flexibility would mean less red tape and more options for families, including by allowing families to pick up a week’s worth of meals or having meals delivered to their home on the school bus. These flexibilities have been crucial to feeding students throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. With 90% of schools still facing many challenges as they return to normal operations, these flexibilities would give schools much-needed support to keep kids fed.
“Every child, regardless of where they live, deserves nutritious meals,” said Sens. Warner and Kaine. “Ensuring that school districts have the flexibility and federal resources they need to keep feeding their students is essential to our fight to end childhood hunger in America. This legislation will help us do that.”
“We should make it easier for kids to get the meals they need – not harder. Our bill cuts red tape and keeps the priority on giving children the healthy meals they need and deserve,” said Senator Stabenow. “As we come out of this pandemic, schools are doing their best - but it takes time for them to transition back to their operations before COVID. We can’t let hungry kids get caught in the middle. Without this support, up to 30 million kids who get food at school will see their essential breakfast and lunch meals disrupted. And millions of hungry kids who rely on summer meals may have nowhere to go to get food.”
More specifically, the bipartisan Support Kids Not Red Tape Act would:
- Extend USDA’s authority to issue waivers from June 30, 2022 to September 30, 2023, which would extend USDA school meal flexibilities. This is simply a continuation of the authority USDA has had and exercised throughout the pandemic. This would cover this summer, as well as the full 2022-2023 school year, and summer of 2023, and create a transition plan to help schools adjust back to normal school meal operations starting October 1, 2023.
- Direct states to submit a transition plan to USDA so that schools will be prepared and supported when transitioning back to normal National School Lunch Program operations after the increased flexibilities end.
- Direct the Secretary to provide technical assistance to states on drafting transition plans and to School Food Authorities on meeting meal standards during the waiver period.
Since the pandemic began, Warner and Kaine have secured federal funding to expand access to food assistance for students, including successfully pushing USDA to make food distribution policies more flexible for Virginia’s families. They also helped secure Virginia’s request to operate a Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) program to ensure children have access to healthy food while at home. In March 2022, Warner and Kaine sent a letter urging USDA to issue guidance to better address the growing food insecurity crisis among college students.
In addition to Warner, Kaine, and Stabenow, this legislation was also cosponsored by 49 members of the Senate, including: Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Susan Collins (R-ME), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Bob Casey (D-PA), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Tina Smith (D-MN), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Ben Ray Lujan (D-NM), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Richard J. Durbin (D-IL), Reverend Raphael Warnock (D-GA), Ed Markey (D-MA), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Jack Reed (D-RI), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Alex Padilla (D-CA), Patty Murray (D-WA), Benjamin Cardin (D-MD), Christopher Coons (D-DE), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Tom Carper (D-DE), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Gary Peters (D-MI), Angus King (I-ME), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Chris Murphy (D-CT), John Hickenlooper (D-CO), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Mark Kelly (D-AZ), Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), Jon Ossoff (D-GA), Jon Tester (D-MT), Charles E. Schumer (D-NY), and Maria Cantwell (D-WA).
Mar 03 2022
WASHINGTON — U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine joined Sen. Elizabeth Warren, as well as a bicameral group of their colleagues, in urging U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Thomas Vilsack to issue guidance clarifying college students’ eligibility for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits to address the growing food insecurity crisis among college students.
“College students represent the future of America. Not only is it critical that we don’t saddle students with debt, but the Administration should also use its executive authority to ensure low-income students have the information they need to access SNAP and other federal benefits to help them stay focused and successful in their studies,” the senators wrote. “USDA has the authority to change that.”
“While we work on securing legislation to both make permanent and expand the [Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act] student provisions, we strongly urge USDA to use its authority to expeditiously issue guidance that clarifies the student SNAP eligibility rules, which would expand on the Biden Administration’s actions to ensure students have access to federal nutrition resources to meet their basic needs,” the senators concluded.
The senators specifically call on USDA to issue guidance to clarify that the following groups are eligible for SNAP benefits without work requirements: low-income students who have been approved for federal or state work study; low-income students enrolled in community college and in four-year college programs that are career-focused or in paths resulting in high employability after graduation; and low-income students with disabilities, including students with learning disabilities and serious medical conditions.
Students experiencing hunger have a harder time succeeding in school. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, a GAO report found that nearly two million students at risk of going hungry were potentially eligible for SNAP but did not report receiving benefits in 2016. The COVID-19 pandemic has also worsened food insecurity among college students and exacerbated racial disparities in hunger. A 2020 survey conducted by the Hope Center at Temple University found 32 percent of Virginia Community College System’s (VCCS) students had experienced food insecurity in the prior 30 days.
Since the pandemic began, Warner and Kaine have secured federal funding to expand access to food assistance for students, including successfully pushing USDA to make food distribution policies more flexible for Virginia’s families. They also helped secure Virginia’s request to operate a Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) program to ensure children have access to healthy food while at home.
In addition to Warner, Kaine, and Warren, the letter was also signed by Senators Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Alex Padilla (D-CA), Chris Murphy (D-CO), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Edward J. Markey (D-MA), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Tina Smith (D-MN), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Reverend Raphael Warnock (D-GA), Bob Casey (D-PA), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Jack Reed (D-RI), Patty Murray (D-WA), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), and Representatives Al Lawson (D-FL), Jahana Hayes (D-CT), and Norma J. Torres (D-CA).
The full text of the letter is available below:
Dear Secretary Vilsack:
We are writing urging you to issue guidance clarifying Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) eligibility to address the growing food security crisis among college students. While we appreciate the Biden Administration’s recent actions to support college students during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic1 – particularly given the pandemic’s disproportionate impact on low-income college students, students of color, first-generation college students, and single parents2 – there remains an urgent need to ensure that low-income students are both informed about and have access to critical federal benefits, including nutrition benefits.
COVID-19 has worsened food insecurity among college students and exacerbated racial disparities in hunger. A nationwide survey of students in fall 2020 by the Hope Center for College, Community, and Justice found that 70% of Black and 70% of American Indian or Alaska Native students experienced food insecurity, housing insecurity, or homelessness—rates substantially higher than their white peers.3 Overall, 3 in 5 students do not have enough to eat or a stable place to live.4 The setbacks will be even more significant for students who are low-income, the first in their families to attend college, and parenting students.
The Biden Administration has taken critical steps to support college students’ basic needs during the pandemic, including by providing nearly $200 million in American Rescue Plan funds through the Higher Education Emergency Relief Funds.5 We also applaud the use of financial aid data to communicate with students about SNAP and federal benefits for which they may be eligible.6 This builds on the important interagency work that the United State Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Department of Education (ED) started to better coordinate implementation of the temporary student provisions authorized under the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2021 (CRRSAA) title of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021.7
Yet even after the public health emergency ends, the economic repercussions of the pandemic will be felt for years. College students represent the future of America. Not only is it critical that we don’t saddle students with debt, but the Administration should also use its executive authority to ensure low-income students have the information they need to access SNAP and other federal benefits to help them stay focused and successful in their studies.
In December 2018, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued a detailed report analyzing 31 studies that identified widespread food insecurity among students.8 The GAO report concluded that college students experiencing hunger have a harder time succeeding in school and found that nearly two million students at risk of going hungry were potentially eligible for SNAP but did not report receiving benefits in 2016.9 Given that the GAO report and related studies were conducted prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are deeply concerned that significantly more college students may struggle in accessing SNAP benefits after the temporary CRRSAA provisions sunset.10
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the public messaging around SNAP for college students routinely suggested that college students must show they “work at least 20 hours a week”11 to qualify for benefits and failed to highlight the additional statutory exemptions under 7 U.S.C. § 2015 (e) that expand eligibility for students who do not satisfy these work requirements. As the GAO report found, thousands of low-income students who should qualify for SNAP never accessed these benefits, in large part because of the very complex SNAP eligibility rules.12 USDA has the authority to change that under 7 U.S.C. § 2015 (e).
While we acknowledge and appreciate the additional effort USDA and ED have taken to encourage states to reach potentially eligible students by using financial aid data while the temporary CRRSSA provisions are in place,13 this does not resolve the importance of clarifying the long-standing student eligibility rules, given the well-documented barriers students face to accessing SNAP benefits. Specifically, we urge USDA to issue guidance to states that clarifies, in accordance with the exemptions listed under 7 U.S.C. § 2015 (e), that students under the following circumstances, at a minimum, are not required to satisfy any work requirements to access SNAP benefits:
Low-income students approved for federal or state work study are eligible for SNAP benefits while they search for available work study positions or funding, whether or not their college is able to secure them a position. Cash-strapped colleges may not have the requisite matching funds for federal work study grants awarded to students, but students should not be denied SNAP benefits simply because their financial aid awards are not fulfilled.
Low-income students are SNAP eligible when enrolled in community college and in four-year college programs that are career-focused and/or in paths resulting in high employability after graduation. All states should be afforded the discretion to exempt students at community colleges, and in such four-year college programs, from the work requirement and should be encouraged to use this discretion to broadly expand SNAP access. Students’ academic success should not be delayed or derailed because they need to take on additional work responsibilities to access nutrition benefits.
Low-income students with disabilities, including students with learning disabilities as well as serious medical conditions, are eligible for SNAP under the “physical or mental unfitness” exemption. Many students qualify for accommodations at their colleges based on their disabilities or health conditions, including tutoring, extra time on exams and projects, and mental health services as well as students enrolled through their state’s Rehabilitation Act or veterans rehabilitation program.14 Burdening these students with an additional 20 hours per week of work effectively undermines successful completion of their education.
While we work on securing legislation to both make permanent and expand the CRRSAA student provisions, we strongly urge USDA to use its authority to expeditiously issue guidance that clarifies the student SNAP eligibility rules, which would expand on the Biden Administration’s actions to ensure students have access to federal nutrition resources to meet their basic needs.