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Call to Action: Advocacy Groups Rally to Eliminate SNAP Interview Requirements

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The National Student Legal Defense Network, Center for Law and Social Policy, and California Student Aid Commission want the USDA to eliminate the interview requirement for SNAP applicants. They say the interview procedure is onerous and inhibits qualified people from receiving food aid. The USDA informed the petitioner that it was studying the idea.

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SNAP Advocacy: Push to Ease Interview Hurdles for Low-Income Families

Low-income families receive SNAP benefits for groceries, snacks, and non-alcoholic beverages. Monthly benefits average $212 per person or $401 per household for 42 million Americans. SNAP candidates must face a state agency certification interview within 30 days after applying, either in person or by phone. Urgent applicants who match income requirements can get interviews within seven days.

Aviana Kimani, a West Los Angeles College student, struggled to schedule re-certification interviews, according to advocacy groups. Kimani stated that inconsistent scheduling and uncertainty about interview time made it problematic for people with work or school obligations. SNAP’s federal statute does not require interviews, and the groups say they are an obsolete bureaucratic burden.

A 2021 California enrollment data study found that 31% of Los Angeles County SNAP applicants were refused benefits due to missed interviews and 6% for eligibility issues. The groups say missed-interview denials disproportionately harm working families and college applicants, potentially affecting 40% of eligible applicants.

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Challenging Interview Requirements for Effortless Food Aid Access

Although SNAP’s interview requirement has been in existence since 1978, the organizations claim that it should be revisited because it is not required by federal law. They say the condition is laborious and can delay approval, and during the COVID-19 epidemic, when criteria were loosened, hunger levels stayed stable due to greater SNAP access.

Advocates suggest continuing pandemic changes like automatic re-certification and online/phone SNAP applications to prevent benefit loss. Student Defense President Aaron Ament discusses the difficulties students encounter scheduling SNAP interviews while juggling school, work, and caring.

From October 2019 to February 2020, 78% of eligible people participated in SNAP, according to the USDA. Advocates for abolishing the interview requirement argue that eligible folks need more accessible and efficient ways to receive food aid.

READ ALSO: Find Out Everything About California Unemployment Benefits; Check If You Meet The Eligibility Criteria

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