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Cuellar Moves to Expand SNAP Benefits for College Students

Today, Congressman Henry Cuellar announced an award of nearly $337,000 to the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) to improve the state agency’s Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) recipient fraud prevention, detection and investigation efforts. The funding comes through the Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) SNAP Fraud Framework grant program. Additionally, Congressman Cuellar has joined Representative Al Lawson’s (FL-5) bill, the College Student Hunger Act of 2019, as an original cosponsor. The measure will support students who experience food insecurity by expanding the eligibility criteria and removing barriers for SNAP. The Congressman’s efforts to expand and protect SNAP funding follow the Administration’s announcement that it will seek to eliminate state flexibility in SNAP; a policy change which would slash food assistance for at least 3 million people and jeopardize access to free school meals for 500,000 low-income students.

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“SNAP plays a critical role in the battle against hunger for people across Texas and throughout the country. However, SNAP cannot achieve its primary purpose of helping individuals afford a basic meal without maintaining program integrity,” said Congressman Cuellar. “This grant will help the state of Texas create new ideas and technologies that improve program operations in order to more effectively serve eligible children, students, seniors, and families.” “No college student should have to choose between buying textbooks and going hungry,” Congressman Cuellar continued. “Our nation is better served when our students are focusing on their studies instead of where their next meal will come from. I thank Rep. Lawson for introducing this legislation, providing a much-needed expansion to SNAP, and ensuring students have the support they need in college.” “This program is a lifeline for millions of American, including more than 48,000 households in the 28th District of Texas. As members of the U.S. House Appropriations Committee, my colleagues and I have the responsibility to allocate funding for SNAP and other critical federal programs, not the Administration.” Expanding SNAP Benefits for College Students According to a Government Accountability Office report, more than 30% of college students might face food insecurity, and almost 2 million at-risk students did not receive SNAP benefits in 2016, even though they were eligible. The Congressman co-sponsored the College Student Hunger Act of 2019, legislation to address food insecurity on college campuses by allowing more low-income college students to access SNAP, and urge the federal government, states, and colleges to take a more active role in addressing student food insecurity. HHSC Awarded SNAP Fraud Framework grant program HHSC was awarded $336,994 through the Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) SNAP Fraud Framework grant program. The grant will go to creating innovative strategies to hinder the misuse and abuse of SNAP in Texas.

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