Commentary: Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and the New Mexico Human Services Department (HSD) strongly oppose the federal government’s proposed rule changes eliminating Broad-Based Categorical Eligibility (BBCE) from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). She joins 16 other governors who jointly signed a letter to U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue.
“This is a cruel and unnecessary policy change that will hurt many hard-working New Mexican families who are working as hard as they can to put food on the table,” Gov. Lujan Grisham said. “I strongly oppose this rule change. It is anathema to our duty to provide for vulnerable children, some of whom are being raised in single-parent households, with parents enrolled in college, trying to make better lives for themselves.
This proposal would prohibit U.S. states from expanding who is eligible for the program beyond the federal baseline, which is 130 percent of the federal poverty level. With the current regulations, HSD currently provides food benefits to more working families by increasing eligibility to 165 percent of the federal poverty level.
SNAP is one of New Mexico’s key resources that provides food for vulnerable and hardworking families across the state. If this proposal moves forward approximately 12,261 people will lose their food benefits, more than half of whom are single parents.
Of the 12,261 total recipients who will lose food benefits:
- 6,639 are single parents
- 2,961 are single parents enrolled in education
- 5,607 are children 17 years and younger
“Our goal is to help people who are in need,” said David R. Scrase, M.D. Cabinet Secretary for the New Mexico Human Services Department. “This rule change hurts those who are working to create a positive change their circumstances.”
These changes would also adversely affect eligibility for children who currently receive free and reduced meals through the National School Breakfast and Lunch Programs.