Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

Last updated: April 30, 2024

Testimony Concerning the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP): SJR2855
House Committee on Finance
April 23, 2024
Hector Perez-Aponte, Policy Analyst, the Economic Progress Institute

The Economic Progress Institute supports Senator Lawson’s SJR2855, which would appropriate $5,000,000 to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Eat Well, Be Well Pilot Rewards Program.

All Rhode Islanders deserve access to nutritious, healthy foods. Unfortunately, far too many Rhode Islanders struggle to meet their basic needs and experience food insecurity. SNAP provides monthly food benefits to households with limited income, and many Rhode Islanders rely on this assistance. According to an analysis by the Center on Budget & Policy Priorities, in Federal Fiscal Year 2022, SNAP helped 139,400 Rhode Islanders – approximately 1 in 8 residents. More than 34% of participants lived in working families, almost 52% lived in families with children, and almost 49% lived in families that included older adults or individuals with disabilities.1 According to Rhode Island KIDS Count, there were 163,637 Rhode Islanders enrolled in SNAP in October 2022; 72% were adults, 31% were children, and 32% of those children were under age 6.2 According to the US Department of Agriculture, 88% of SNAP recipients face barriers in providing their household with a healthy diet. Sixty-six percent of SNAP recipients reported that the most common hurdle was the cost of healthy foods.3

As the cost of food and rent have risen dramatically in recent years (with Providence experiencing the highest rent increase in the country in 2023) SNAP benefits have become increasingly important for struggling Rhode Islanders. Rhode Island’s newly implemented Eat Well, Be Well Pilot Program is a vital safety net for families struggling with food insecurity. Under the program, for every SNAP dollar spent on eligible fresh fruit and vegetable purchases, SNAP customers will receive an additional 50 cents in benefits to their EBT card. This additional benefit helps to maintain access to nutritious food when basic food benefits alone are not enough to meet the needs of families. This legislation would appropriate the sum of $5,000,000 to the supplemental program to ensure that Rhode Islanders receive the support they need to feed themselves and their families.

Rhode Islanders need nutritious foods to live, learn, and work. We urge committee members to advance this legislation.

1 https://www.cbpp.org/sites/def...


3 https://www.usda.gov/media/pre...

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