After the farm bill recently passed the Senate, the House is currently working on its version. Among the improvements the House Agriculture Committee draft, released Thursday, makes on the Senate bill is a restriction on the expansion of “categorical eligibility.” As I’ve written, using categorical-eligibility provisions, states can enroll people into their food-stamp programs who don’t meet the specific requirements for the program as long as they qualify for some other form of aid.
Different states interpret “other form of aid” differently. For example, in Minnesota, if you receive a brochure on domestic violence, you can “tell your county worker that you have received the brochure” and have asset limits waived. The House Agriculture Committee draft would restrict categorical eligibility to those who receive cash aid. The measure is projected to remove 1.8 million people from the food-stamp rolls and save $11.5 billion over the ten years covered by the bill.