December 5, 2019 – The Network of Jewish Human Service Agencies is deeply concerned about the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) announcement to eliminate an estimated 700,000 Americans from benefits received from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Despite hundreds of thousands of comments received during its Open Comment Period, which opposed the proposed reductions, including a joint comment submitted by NJHSA and the Jewish Federations of North America, the Department is moving ahead and implementing new guidelines which will deny SNAP benefits after three months to adults without dependents who are unable to secure employment. The rule impacts not only single adults but also defines those without dependents as any parent with children over the age of six. The rule does not allow for any exceptions and will undoubtedly impact those who face barriers to employment, including those with disabilities, veterans, those living in rural America, college students and single parents, as well as those who are simply unsuccessful in securing stable and self-sustaining employment.
As a network of human service providers which helps vulnerable and at-risk populations to achieve stability, the elimination of needed nutrition assistance will only hinder the ability of our agencies to ensure that those in need have the needed resources to find a path for personal sufficiency. The Jewish values which guide our agencies compel us to speak out in support of the most vulnerable among us. Further, the Administration must understand that the non-profit and philanthropic sectors cannot replace the role of government in supporting the most needy in our country.
We implore the Administration and its USDA to consider the profound and lasting implications of these reductions and are ready to work in partnership with all sectors of our country; government, corporate, civic philanthropic and non-profit, to support our country in its efforts to reclaim its identity as a refuge for the needy and as a society which ensures basic supports, such as food, for its most vulnerable.
Perry Ohren, Chair, NJHSA Board of Directors
Reuben D. Rotman, President & CEO