Food Stamp Expansion Act Implemented This Week
Up to 4,000 additional DC residents will be eligible for food stamp benefits beginning March 15, thanks to a policy option adopted by the DC Council that is being implemented this month by the Department of Human Services. The option – known as “categorical eligibility”— will allow households with incomes up to 200 percent of the federal poverty line to access food stamps. Previously, food stamps were limited to households with incomes below 130 percent of the federal poverty line (about $23,800 a month for a family of three). The new eligibility rules largely affect families with substantial child care or housing expenses.
Now, more families will be able to access food assistance during a critical time when unemployment in the District has risen above 12 percent. Expanding food stamp benefits also is one of the most effective ways to stimulate the DC economy because families tend to spend all of their benefits each month and tend to spend them locally. Thanks to Councilmembers Michael Brown and Tommy Wells who championed this legislation.