HOUSTON — The KHOU 11 Verify team is breaking down your questions over cuts to food stamps. One viewer asked if this will eliminate free lunches for kids.
It’s always an important issue anytime there’s a concern of whether or not a children will get to eat.
Stacy Powell asked us: “Will the proposal to reduce or eliminate food stamps eliminate free school lunches for kids from disadvantaged homes? I keep getting 'sign this petition' messages on Facebook.”
We went straight to Melanie Pang, Government Relations Officer for Houston Food Bank.
Pang said right now, SNAP operates their food stamps on something called broad-based categorical eligibility, which means kids are automatically eligible for the school meal programs using their SNAP ID number.
She said if this proposed rule to reduce SNAP becomes law, broad-based categorical eligibility will essentially be eliminated.
Pang said this means students would be removed from free and reduced lunch programs, and parents would then have to re-enroll students themselves which could lead to a gap in time in which the students are not receiving food at school.
But most of those kids are likely still eligible.
So we can very that it’s false. The rule will not eliminate the free school lunches, but Pang said it is an extra step that could unnecessarily make SNAP enrollment even lower.
She said the enrollment into the food program varies by district, and you should contact your school to find out exactly how to enroll your child, if they are eligible.
Right now, the government is taking public comment on the proposal. If you want to comment, the food bank makes that easy for you here.
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