Legislation to help prevent job seekers from losing their SNAP benefits was introduced Thursday by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. The bill, the Training and Nutrition Stability Act, would rectify loopholes within the SNAP Employment and Training program that can cause a SNAP recipient to lose benefits due to receiving wages as part of their job training. By doing so, it would help ensure that SNAP recipients continue to receive critical nutritional assistance while gaining skills, working to secure employment, and eventually achieving self-sufficiency.
Under current law, SNAP E&T program participants risk losing their SNAP eligibility, and subsequently their ability to participate in the E&T program itself, because of the extra income they earn through the program. The Training and Nutrition Stability Act would fix this issue by excluding wages derived from a public workforce training program from SNAP income calculations. This change would allow participants to maintain their nutrition benefits and maintain their enrollment in high-quality training programs leading to better outcomes, permanent employment, and self-sufficiency.
“Loopholes in SNAP’s E&T program force job seekers to make an impossible choice: to participate in job training and potentially lose desperately needed nutritional assistance, or to give up employment opportunities in order to keep food on the table,” said Senator Gillibrand. “My Training and Nutrition Stability Act is a commonsense fix that will provide jobseekers with sustained nutritional assistance as they seek to expand their skill sets and secure good-paying jobs so that they no longer need to rely on SNAP. I’m committed to getting this bill passed and making sure working families have the support they need to get back on their feet.”
“People returning home from incarceration should have every opportunity to gain additional skills and job training to provide a better life for themselves and their families. However, right now, there’s a ‘Catch-22’ in SNAP Employment & Training where an individual could be kicked off of SNAP due to the income they earn from a job training program,” said Sam Schaeffer, Chief Executive Officer of Center for Employment Opportunities. “We thank Senator Gillibrand for pursuing a fix in the Farm Bill that will allow people to complete paid employment training – that will support permanent independence – without having to compromise putting food on the table while they’re doing it.”
The SNAP Employment and Training program offers a variety of services to help SNAP recipients secure employment, including work experience opportunities, job search assistance, and educational and vocational programs. It also offers participants a variety of supportive services to overcome other common barriers to sustained employment, like reimbursements for transportation, child care services, and safety equipment.
Rep. Adriano Espaillat (D-NY), Rep. Alma Adams (D-NC), Rep. Max Miller (R-OH), and Rep. Marcus Molinaro (R-NY) lead this bill in the House.