May 8, 2008
Breaking news -- Asset limits to be reformed in the Food Stamp Program!
The conference committee formed to work out differences in the House and Senate versions of the 2007 Farm Bill has included provisions to reform asset limits in the food stamp program-- an issue championed by Chairman Harkin (D-IA) and Ranking Member Chambliss (R-GA).
The Farm Bill, if passed unchanged by the full House and Senate, will officially exclude savings in IRAs and 529 college savings accounts from consideration in determining eligibility for food stamp assistance.
What's more, the existing asset limit, which is set at 2,000 for most families and has only been increased once since the late 1970's, will be indexed to inflation to prevent further erosion.
This is a tremendous victory for the entire assets community. I'd especially like to recognize the Corporation for Enterprise Development, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, and the Retirement Security Project, who we've worked closely with to educate policymakers and push for change.
To learn more about how asset limits negatively influence economic behavior and undermine the economic security of low-income Americans, see my previous articles in The Washington Post and the Christian Science Monitor as well as New America policy papers here and here.