DES MOINES, IOWA — On Tuesday morning lawmakers listened to Iowans for an hour on a bill that adds asset tests in order to qualify for public assistance.
The bill adds hurdles for those trying to apply for SNAP benefits, including income and asset tests. The Legislative Service Agency estimated that if this bill is passed into law, around 1% of those on public assistance will lose access to benefits.
Several Iowans who are Medicaid and SNAP benefit recipients say that this bill will kick them off.
“That will take away my blood pressure medicine, all my physical therapy, take away my psychiatrist I go see once a month for my anxiety and depression,” said Nick Miller from Waterloo. Miller lives with his uncle and because of what his uncle owns, Miller would not be eligible for benefits. “I don’t see why he should be punished for letting me live there and I am getting punished losing benefits for that.”
“Eating is not a necessity, it is a must in order to live and if these new changes are made so many people will go without food,” said Brianna Jenkins, a SNAP recipient. “I can personally say from experience the SNAP program allows me to purchase very expensive baby formula for my infant daughter. The new changes will have a huge affect on myself and so many of us would not be able to qualify for services.”
Those speaking in favor of the legislation want to make sure tax dollars are being used properly.
“At times my family has taken advantage of these things as well. However if we are unfaithful in our stewardship with this than I believe that we are not doing due diligence and making sure that these funds are properly instilled,” said Trever Hines, a pastor in Ankeny.
The bill needs to pass through the House committee before being debated on the floor. House Republicans may end up amending the bill, which will slow the bill’s pace having already passed the Iowa Senate.