Kuster, Welch, Fetterman, McGovern Introduce Legislation To Streamline Nutrition Paperwork Applications, Cut Costs
**The legislation would ease administrative burdens on SNAP program administrators and applicants**
Washington, September 25, 2023
Washington, D.C. — Congresswoman Annie Kuster (NH-02), alongside Senators Peter Welch (D-VT) and John Fetterman (D-PA) and Congressman Jim McGovern (MA-02), introduced the Streamlining Nutrition Paperwork Act of 2023. The legislation modernizes the existing Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Act (SNAP), which helps low-income individuals and families by providing monthly benefits to purchase food, by reducing barriers to access. This legislation is under consideration to be included in the 2023 Farm Bill.
“Food insecurity is a serious challenge in New Hampshire – only half of all the eligible adults and children are enrolled in SNAP,” said Congresswoman Kuster. “By reducing unnecessary administrative barriers in the SNAP program, like the audio recording requirement, we can help ensure that every family has access to the healthy, nutritious food they need to thrive. As Congress considers the next Farm Bill, I’ll continue working to tackle food insecurity in New Hampshire to ensure no Granite Stater is left behind.”
“We need to do everything in our power to make it easier for folks to get connected to the nutrition assistance programs they need, not harder. This bill will streamline the process of signing up for SNAP, and help individuals and families in rural Vermont—and in rural communities across America—get access to the food they need,” said Senator Welch. “I thank my friends and colleagues Senator John Fetterman and the Granite State’s Rep. Annie Kuster for their partnership on the bicameral Streamlining Nutrition Paperwork Act, and call on all of my colleagues, on both sides of the aisle, to support this commonsense measure.”
“As Chairman of the Senate Agriculture Subcommittee on Nutrition, my top priority is making it easier for working families to put food on the table, and that includes expanding SNAP and protecting it from conservatives who want to cut it,” said Senator Fetterman. “I am proud to support this bill, which will modernize the program, reduce barriers, and help more people sign up for critical assistance. Any program that helps more people who need SNAP get it — and provides accommodations for people who need them — is a no-brainer.”
“SNAP is one of the most powerful tools we have in this country to end hunger—but too often and for too many families, simply accessing the benefits they for qualify can be time consuming and make it challenging to apply,” said Congressman McGovern. “Our bill would streamline the application process and remove some of the barriers that often make it difficult for hungry families to get the help they need. I am so grateful to Congresswoman Kuster for introducing this important bill.”
“We strongly endorse legislation that would allow for SNAP enrollment over the telephone. This is critical to ensure that families and children in rural communities, who face additional barriers with transportation and long distances to enrollment centers, can access vital anti-hunger programs with greater ease and efficiency,” said Christy Gleason, Vice President of Policy, Advocacy and Campaigns at Save the Children. “This bill is an important part of ensuring that no community is overlooked, and every child has access to the nutrition they need to thrive.”
“NH Hunger Solutions has been working to remove barriers for those who are eligible for SNAP so that all those who need benefits can access them,” said Laura Milliken, Executive Director of NH Hunger Solutions. “That's why we are thrilled that Congresswoman Kuster has introduced the Streamlining Nutrition Paperwork Act. The Act is an essential step in removing transportation barriers which keep many in NH from connecting to SNAP."
Since 2008, SNAP applicants have been able to record a telephonic signature, but only with specific costly technology. Not all states utilize telephonic signature options because of the expense of the technology required and issues implementing it — initial costs have ranged as high as $150,000-$900,000 depending on the agency in question, the size of the population served, and what features they want to be included in the program.
The SNP Act of 2023 will alleviate this burden by waiving the audio recording requirements in favor of state officials being able to note the verbal affirmation of the SNAP applicant on their application. This legislation would formally codify this flexibility, saving time, money, and administration while helping remove a potential barrier between qualified SNAP applicants and efficient access to the program.