HB1340 would increase food stamp dependency by disregarding certain types of income from counting towards disability.
Today, more than 265,000 Arkansans—or nearly ten percent of the state’s population—are enrolled in food stamps and receiving nearly $50 million per month in benefits. HB1340 would make this dependency crisis worse.
HB1340 has no fiscal note, leaving Arkansans and policymakers to wonder how much it will cost. Not only will this add to the federal debt, but there will undoubtedly be new administrative costs that the state will bear.
Instead of focusing on truly-needy Arkansans—including low-income veterans—who have nowhere else to turn, HB1340 would expand food stamps to those with incomes that are currently too high for them to qualify. But Arkansans with significant income, like those this bill benefits, can afford to buy their own food.
The Biden administration is likely to fast-track the approval of this waiver because they are on a mission to increase dependency. This should give Arkansas policymakers reason for pause, not celebration.
Not only do disabled veterans already receive existing support through the VA and non-profit organizations, but they also receive preferential treatment in the food stamp program, including being exempt from the work requirement, a more flexible asset limit, and they may be categorically eligible for food stamps.
The federal government only has money that it takes from states. Particularly with a $31 trillion national debt—and counting—Arkansas policymakers should reject any claims that this bill is inconsequential because food stamp benefits are paid for with “federal money.” All that money ultimately comes from state taxpayers.