Congressman Vargas Fights for Veterans with Pending Disability Claims to Receive SNAP Benefits

Washington, DC - Today, Congressman Juan Vargas (CA- 51) proudly joins Congresswoman Jackie Speier (CA- 14) in presenting an amendment to H.R. 1947, the “Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management (FARRM) Act,” which would enable veterans to file for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits under the status of disabled while their disability claims are pending at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

“It is unfair for us to ask our veterans to forgo critical services, such as SNAP benefits, while their disability claims are being processed by the VA,” said Rep. Vargas.  “Our disabled veterans have sacrificed so much for our country and it is unthinkable that they should have to worry about where their next meal will come from.”

Currently, veterans are not considered disabled for the purposes of the SNAP program if they have a pending disability claim with the VA.  The amendment, proposed by Rep. Vargas and Rep. Speier, would allow veterans to apply for SNAP benefits as “disabled”, while they wait for a decision on their case.  However, the amendment does not automatically make veterans eligible for the program; each SNAP applicant would still need to pass the net income test based on 100 percent of the federal poverty level.

“The welfare of our veterans should be a top priority,” said Rep. Vargas.  “Sadly, the average processing time for a VA disability claim in my district is 334 days.  It is appalling that our veterans could be forced to go eleven months without food assistance.”

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