For Immediate Release
June 11, 2014
DC – Bill Silverfarb (202) 225-3531 / (202) 957-4340 cell
CA – Katrina Rill (650) 342-0300 / (650) 208-7441 cell
WASHINGTON, DC – Congresswoman Speier (D-San Francisco/San Mateo) issued the following statement today after her bipartisan amendment to enhance veterans' access to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) was accepted as part of the Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2015. The amendment, cosponsored by Congressman Dan Benishek (R-MI), is based upon the Disabled Veterans Nutrition Fairness Act of 2013 and allocates $1 million from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) budget to assist veterans who have faced delays in receiving medical appointments at VA facilities.
“The ongoing revelations of serious dysfunction at the Veterans Administration make it clear the needs of veterans living on the edge are not being met. While the backlog at the VA has improved, nearly 600,000 veteran disability claims are still pending. Veterans who file their claims at the most backlogged regional offices are still averaging waits of more than 200 days,” said Congresswoman Speier. “Filing for SNAP under the disabled status can provide much-needed assistance with minimal cost. For a veteran with war-related mental or physical injuries, this small amount of help can make an enormous difference.”
The amendment allocates $1 million to assist veterans with SNAP benefits while their claims are pending. Currently, disabled veterans are not considered disabled for the purposes of the SNAP program unless they are receiving veteran’s disability benefits and rated by the VA as having a service or non-service connected disability that is total or debilitating. Under this amendment, veterans on the waitlist will be able to apply for SNAP benefits under disabled status. The amendment does not make veterans automatically eligible for SNAP, but allows them to access benefits under the disabled designation, such as deducting medical expenses and using SNAP to purchase prepared meals.
Watch the video of Congresswoman Speier introducing the amendment here.
Congresswoman Jackie Speier is proud to represent California’s 14th Congressional District, which includes parts of San Francisco and San Mateo counties. She is a senior member of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform and the House Armed Services Committee (HASC). In her role on the Oversight and Government Reform Committee, the Congresswoman is a ranking member on the Subcommittee on Energy Policy, Health Care, and Entitlements and serves on the Subcommittee on National Security. She serves on the Readiness Subcommittee and the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee on HASC and is a member of the House Gun Violence Prevention Task Force. Congresswoman Speier was appointed to serve as a Senior Whip for the Democratic caucus in the 113th Congress.