Washington, DC – Today, Congresswoman Jackie Speier (CA-14), Co-Chair of the Democratic Women’s Caucus, introduced legislation that would permanently allow Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients to use their electronic benefits transfer (EBT) card to directly purchase diapers and related supplies, such as wipes and diaper cream, providing support for families struggling to afford critically-needed and basic infant care.

 “We’re facing an economic crisis the likes of which we haven’t seen since the Great Depression and families and women in particular are bearing the brunt of the fallout. The astronomical cost of diapers has added to that pain, causing parents to stretch their use by keeping their babies in diapers for longer periods and risking urinary tract infections and diaper dermatitis, or diaper rash. This isn’t good for infant health or for parents’ emotional health,” Rep. Speier said. “Diapers banks are a godsend for many parents right now, but it’s unsustainable to rely on that and unconscionable for the federal government to not step up and provide assistance. By adapting SNAP to accommodate infant care, we will help meet immediate needs, protect children’s health, and help families get back on their feet in the long-term.”

Since March of this year, over 56 million Americans with children have reported a loss of income. Nearly 12 million children live in poverty in the United States. The average cost for a  monthly supply of diapers is $80 per child. Before the pandemic, 1 in 3 families reported being unable to afford diapers for their children. And diaper banks across the country are reporting a 300 to 400 percent increase in demand. In 2019, SNAP served roughly 35.7 million Americans. Since the pandemic, that number has increased to 43 million people.

A copy of the bill text is attached to this press release below.