Nutrition Professionals Respond to USDA's Proposed New Rulings

In March of this year, the Food and Nutrition Service—operating under the United States Department of Agriculture—proposed new rulings within the Employment & Training sections of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). These rulings allowed potentially-affected industries and organizations to respond within 60 days of the proposal.

What is SNAP?

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program is a federal program that provides nutrition benefits to low-income individuals and families that are used at stores to purchase food so they can maintain health and move towards self-sufficiency.  The program is administered by the USDA Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) through its nationwide network of FNS field offices.

– U.S. Department of Agriculture

Participants of the SNAP program receive access to exclusive benefits and services that train them to move up in the workforce, as part of the Employment & Training division of the program. The proposed rule changes offered in March are intended to enhance those provided services, deliver direct one-on-one support to participants, and increase the level of documentation and accountability built into the Employment & Training framework.

The Academy’s Response

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics voiced its support for the suggested ruling changes and spoke on behalf of the 107,000+ nutrition professionals that make up the association. As the leading nutrition association in the U.S., the registered dietitians and nutrition technicians that make up this group work regularly with legislators and health administrators on its mission to improve the nation’s health through food and nutrition.

Many areas of the proposed ruling were supported by the Academy in an effort to continue health improvements the SNAP program has contributed. The Academy cited specific areas of advancement this new ruling will promote, and used reasons like:

  • The adjusted ruling will reinforce household and individual economic stability by providing program participants employment and training opportunities when unemployment rises.

  • Food insecurity heightens risks for negative health outcomes and presents greater risks for obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.

  • Limited financial resources encourages those experiencing food insecurity to use “coping strategies” such as underuse of medication or non-adherence to extend their limited budget.

  • SNAP participation is a proven strategy to reduce health care costs, with low-income adults incurring 25% lower health care costs over 12 months.

  • The ruling advances SNAP participants’ success with developing necessary skills to earn steady, dependable work resulting in improvements towards food insecurity issues.

  • The ruling supports rule changes that deliver a “supervised job search” to be monitored by states and report on compliance rates. It also requires detailed reporting when individuals are unable to meet the work/training requirements.

To learn more about the SNAP program ruling changes, visit USDA.

Note: These news briefs are meant to be an informative service and do not signify UNE’s endorsement of any organization, product, or service.

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