For Immediate Release
Jan. 5, 2023
ACHI BOARD CALLS ON LEGISLATURE, INCOMING ADMINISTRATION TO ELIMINATE ASSET LIMIT FOR FOOD STAMPS
LITTLE ROCK ― The board of the Arkansas Center for Health Improvement is urging the Arkansas General Assembly and the incoming Sarah Huckabee Sanders administration to eliminate the asset limit for food stamps.
“The Governor’s Food Desert Working Group, on which I was honored to serve at the request of outgoing Gov. Asa Hutchinson, included in its recent report several recommendations for addressing Arkansas’ food access crisis,” ACHI President and CEO Dr. Joe Thompson said Thursday. “One of those recommendations is to raise or remove the asset limit for participation in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP. The ACHI Health Policy Board recently voted to issue a call to action to the General Assembly and the incoming administration to eliminate the asset limit.”
About 11 percent — more than 1 in 10 — of Arkansas residents participated in SNAP in 2021. The working group found that programs like SNAP are often the only way that Arkansans living with food insecurity can obtain food.
SNAP is a federal program, but states are allowed to modify the eligibility requirements. Arkansas’ income limit for SNAP eligibility is at the lowest level allowed by the federal government. In addition to the income limit, Arkansas has retained an asset limit of $2,750 per household, or $4,250 for households where at least one person is elderly or disabled. Thirty-six states, including neighboring Oklahoma and Louisiana, have chosen to eliminate the asset limit.
“The SNAP asset limit serves to keep families in poverty by creating a disincentive to save money,” Thompson said. “It also serves as a cliff, exposing vulnerable people to a sudden halt in benefits if they exceed it, and it contributes to churn, which occurs when beneficiaries cycle in and out of eligibility, resulting in higher administrative costs and less predictability for the state.”
The working group’s report is available at arhungeralliance.org.
ACHI is a nonpartisan, independent health policy center that serves as a catalyst for improving the health of all Arkansans through evidence-based research, public issue advocacy, and collaborative program development. See more at achi.net.