Mayor Kenney and Several City Officials Provide Comments Against the Proposed Change to SNAP Program

PHILADELPHIA – Mayor Jim Kenney and members of his Administration joined thousands across the country in submitting public comments opposing the proposed change to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, also known as SNAP or food stamps. If adopted, roughly 40,000 Philadelphians signed up for SNAP could lose their benefits.

Mayor Kenney called the policy counterproductive. “Taking away food from vulnerable Philadelphians hampers their self-sufficiency and creates additional barriers to finding employment. This short-sighted policy will unethically exacerbate food insecurity in Philadelphia and negatively impact our local economy,” said Kenney.

As it is, SNAP requires able-bodied adults without dependent kids to work or engage in job training, and restricts them to three months of benefits every three years if they cannot do so. But states can exempt adults in areas with high unemployment rates from that three-in-three rule. Pennsylvania has sought a waiver from this rule for more than 20 years, under both Democratic and Republican governors. The proposed change would bar states from offering that exemption unless the local unemployment rate is more than seven percent, which would cut an estimated 800,000 people from the program nationwide.

Comments were also submitted by the following City agencies and can be reviewed here:

  • Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbilities
  • Office of Domestic Violence
  • Department of Human Services
  • Department of Public Health
  • Office of Homeless Services
  • Department of Prisons
  • Office of Immigrant Affairs
  • Office of Community Empowerment and Opportunity
  • Health and Human Services Cabinet

The USDA is legally required to read and address every public comment on a proposed regulation. Comments can raise the profile of an issue, help affected communities speak up, and show policymakers that their proposal is broadly unpopular.

The Mayor encourages residents to submit their own public comment here.

The deadline to comment on the SNAP rule is midnight April 2.

Contact: Alicia Taylor, Alicia.taylor@phila.gov, 215-686-0334