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Bipartisan Bill Would Modernize the SNAP Vehicle Asset Test

Car values have increased due to inflation, forcing hungry families off SNAP.

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“No family should lose their ability to put food on the table because of inflation in the car market,” said Celia Cole, CEO of Feeding Texas. Courtesy Image
“No family should lose their ability to put food on the table because of inflation in the car market,” said Celia Cole, CEO of Feeding Texas. Courtesy Image

Texas Border Business

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TEXAS – With the 88th Texas legislative session underway, Feeding Texas is excited to announce bill sponsors for key legislation focused on the SNAP Vehicle Asset Test.

Sen. César Blanco (D-El Paso) and Rep. Ryan Guillen (R-Rio Grande City) have both filed companion bills in the Senate (SB 273) and House (HB 1287) that would index the SNAP Vehicle Asset Test to inflation to better reflect today’s car values.

“No family should lose their ability to put food on the table because of inflation in the car market,” said Celia Cole, CEO of Feeding Texas. “We are honored to have bipartisan support for this key hunger-fighting legislation and look forward to working with Senator Blanco and Representative Guillen as they champion this cause in the legislature.”

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Eligibility for SNAP is primarily based on income and family size. Texas also chooses to use a Vehicle Asset Test, which places a limit on the value of the vehicles that a household may own and still qualify for the program.

Texas rules cap the maximum value of a vehicle at $15,000 for the first vehicle and $4,650 for any additional vehicle in the household. These limits have not been updated since 2001 for the primary car and 1974 for additional cars.

“Texans everywhere are feeling the impact of inflation,” Rep. Guillen said. “Because SNAP eligibility is linked to vehicle value, hungry Texans are losing benefits at a time when they need them most. These vehicle limits were set over 20 years ago — they are outdated and out of touch with reality.”

Instead of depreciating, used cars appreciated in value in the past year. As a result, families that have previously been approved for SNAP and go to renew their benefits are having their cases suddenly rejected because their used cars are worth more today than they were just one year ago.

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“Updating Texas’ SNAP Vehicle Asset Test is not a handout, it is a hand-up for thousands of Texas families facing food insecurity who should not be punished for having the vehicles they need to lift themselves out of poverty and welfare,” Sen. Blanco said. “It is a simple solution that would help thousands ofhungry families at no cost to the state.”

Because SNAP is a federal program, Texas will incur no additional costs for updating the policy.

Feeding Texas leads a unified effort for a hunger-free Texas. Learn more and find your local food bank at www.feedingtexas.org

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