Food Bank of Siouxland against proposed changes to SNAP benefits in Iowa

Published: Feb. 2, 2023 at 11:29 AM CST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

SIOUX CITY (KTIV) - The Food Bank of Siouxland, which helps feed families across northwest Iowa, has released a statement saying that proposed changes to SNAP benefits will hurt those who need the assistance.

In the Iowa Legislature, legislation is being discussed that would limit who qualifies for food assistance and what foods they can buy. If the proposed changes pass, low-income, older, and disabled Iowans who rely on Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits would not be able to buy things like fresh meat, white bread and sliced American cheese. Instead, SNAP users would only be able to buy what’s allowed on the Women, Infants and Children program’s approved list.

Also, the changes would reduce the income level Iowans need to qualify for the program.

The Food Bank of Siouxland says these changes will make it difficult for those who need food assistance to qualify for SNAP and stay on the program. They also say the changes don’t take into account Iowa’s rural areas. The food bank says families who have two vehicles would likely be restricted from SNAP due to more frequent income and asset checks.

“Families who have two vehicles would be restricted from SNAP most likely right away,” said Jacob Wanderscheid, Food Bank of Siouxland Executive Director. “In many of the counties in northwest Iowa, public transportation between towns or communities is nonexistent. Vehicles are needed to get to places of employment, school, the grocery store, etc. Various items make up assets and should not be an indicator of a family or individual’s food needs.”

The food bank admits that the foods on the WIC program are healthy but says they are tailored to the specific nutritional needs of those who just gave birth and small children. They also claim the food on WIC tends to be more expensive, which would mean money from SNAP would not go as far as it does now.

But supporters of these changes say the money currently being used by SNAP could be better used elsewhere.

“It’s these entitlement programs. They’re the ones that are growing within the budget and are putting pressure on us being able to fund other priorities,” said House Speaker Pat Grassley.

The food bank made the following suggestions that they think would help improve the proposed legislation:

  • Lift restrictions on what types of food are allowed under SNAP.
  • Raise asset limits high enough to allow households to save and be resourceful enough on their own, and tie the asset limits to the rate of inflation.
  • Have a fiscal note produced that will provide the costs of the measure and permit a baseline to review future years against.

The Food Bank of Siouxland strongly discourages the passage of either the file or bill. Further, we urge northwest Iowa constituents to reach out to elected officials to voice their opinions and advocate for those facing food insecurity

Statement from the Food Bank of Siouxland.