SW 5200 – Social Welfare Policy Analysis & Practice
Appalachian State University
The Federal Agricultural Reform and Risk Management Act – Title IV
My name is Brian Byerly and I am speaking on this matter as a concerned citizen, Masters Level Social Work student, and Mental Health Professional. I also hold a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and have worked in the private sector for several years. I currently work at Catawba Valley Behavioral Healthcare, a Critical Access Behavioral Health Agency, as Peer Support Team Leader. In this role, I participate and oversee the daily activities of a group of Certified Peer Support Specialists who assist our consumers in identifying and accessing community resources that may improve their quality of life. This may include supportive counseling, linking to healthcare assistance, identifying transitional and permanent housing resources, linking to community emergency assistance, identifying appropriate transportation options, SSI claim assistance, linking to Vocational Rehabilitation, assisting with FAFSA applications, identifying relevant support groups, and helping link to available community food resources.
On May 15, 2013 the House Agriculture Committee passed its 2013 farm bill, H.R. 1947,
The Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act of 2013, or FARRM (U.S. Congress, 2013). Title IV of the bill focuses specifically on nutrition, primarily in regards to modifications of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) (2013). According to Chairman Frank Lucas of Oklahoma and Ranking Member Collin Peterson of Minnesota, the architects of the bill, the primary target areas of Title IV are the following:
Reforms to Program Eligibility. The bill updates financial resource limits to reflect additional low income households, and restricts categorical eligibility to only those households receiving cash assistance from Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), or other state general assistance programs. Ensures all households meet the asset and income tests stated in SNAP law before they can receive benefits (2013).
Closes Program Loopholes. H.R. 1947 closes a loophole in SNAP related to how Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) payments interact with SNAP benefit calculation. This legislation stops states from sending nominal LIHEAP payments below $20 for the sole purpose of increasing SNAP benefits through an additional deduction. This provision will not affect any households receiving traditional LIHEAP assistance or any household that can demonstrate a utility cost (2013).
Eliminates State Performance Bonuses. The bill ends performance bonuses the USDA awards to states for administering SNAP in an efficient and cost-effective manner (2013).
Cracks Down on Waste, Fraud and Abuse through ending SNAP benefits for Lottery or gambling winners. The recipient will lose benefits immediately after receiving winnings. The bill requires states to verify benefits are not being paid to deceased individuals and that beneficiaries are not receiving payments in more than one state. H.R. 1947 prevents beneficiaries from purchasing items which require a substantial bottle deposit, such as $5 specialty milk bottles and returning the bottle for a cash refund of the deposit (2013).
Prohibits Medical Marijuana as an Income Deduction. H.R.1947 prohibits states from allowing medical marijuana to be treated as a medical expense for purposes of income deductions when calculating SNAP benefits.
Prohibits Government Sponsored Recruitment Activities and Outreach Title IV prevents USDA from advertising the SNAP program as well as promotion of the program through television, radio and billboard advertisements. It prohibits USDA from entering into agreements with foreign