Monday Actions: SNAP Benefits, Expand State Unemployment Protections

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7 mins read

****Actions 3/16/2020****

FEDERAL

Restore SNAP Benefits
Back in December, the Trump administration approved a new rule that is estimated to cut off nearly 700,000 unemployed people from food assistance provided by the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP (formerly known as food stamps). The rule, which makes it harder for states to waive the federal program’s work requirements in areas of high unemployment, targets a group of people known, in the bureaucratic language of public-assistance programs, as ABAWDs—“able-bodied adults without dependents.” That rule is set to go into effect on April 1, just as we are entering a global pandemic that will leave many people unable to work. Congress needs to pass a bill rescinding this rule change to make sure that more people will be able eat nutritional meals.

Details:
https://www.theatlantic.com/family/archive/2019/12/trump-snap-food-stamps-cuts/603367/

Script:
Hello, I am a constituent from zip code ___________ calling to urge Rep./Sen. ______________ to support legislation that would remove the work requirement for SNAP benefits in areas of high unemployment. When these SNAP benefits expire on April 1, 700,000 people will lose access to nutritional meals. This is alarming, given that many people are likely to be out of work because of business closures. If anything we should be expanding SNAP benefits to more people. Thank you.

Federal Contact Numbers:
Thom Tillis: DC: (202) 224-6342
Richard Burr DC: (202) 224-3154
Tim Scott (SC): Washington, DC: 202-224-6121
Lindsey Graham (SC): Washington, DC: 202-224-5972
House: https://www.house.gov/representatives/


STATE

Accept Federal Unemployment Insurance Money
The U.S. Labor Department on Thursday gave states flexibility to amend their laws to provide unemployment benefits in events related to the coronavirus in an effort to limit the damage on the economy from the pandemic. States can pay benefits in cases of temporary unemployment because the coronavirus is preventing employees from coming to work. Individuals quarantined with the expectation of returning to work after the quarantine is over can also receive unemployment benefits as well as those leaving employment due to a risk of exposure or infection or to care for a family member.

Unfortunately, North Carolina has probably the strictest unemployment insurance system in the country, and the state legislature would have to act to allow North Carolina to accept these expanded benefits. As Rob Schofield of NC Policy Watch explains that the state would have to make several changes, including increasing benefit amounts, extending the time period that people can remain eligible. Sen. Wiley Nickel is currently working on legislation, so I’ll have more details later, BUT we need to start working on the appropriate people now. Wiley is the only Democrat on the NCGA Unemployment Insurance committee, so it would help to encourage the GOP members of the committee to do the right thing. I think positive reinforcement, rather than being combative, is the way to go. I’ve listed the committee members below and their contact information. Email may work better given that the NCGA is not in session. Call or email as many of the committee members as you can. If you email, please consider supplementing my text with additional details if you can.

Details:
https://pulse.ncpolicywatch.org/author/rschofield/

Script/Email:
Hello, I am a voter from North Carolina, and like you, I am incredibly concerned about the economic impact of the coronavirus on the citizens of our state. Many people will be temporarily unemployed, and many others may permanently lose their jobs because people are spending less money. The federal Department of Labor has given states flexibility to amend their laws to provide unemployment benefits in an effort to limit the damage on the economy from the pandemic. It is absolutely urgent that North Carolina follow the lead of the federal government and accept these policy changes. With that in mind, I would like you to support legislation that would increase benefit amounts and  extend the time period that people can remain eligible. Thank you.

Committee Contacts:
Co-Chair:
-Rep. Julia Howard: Phone: 336-751-3538 Email: Julia.Howard@ncleg.net
-Sen. Andy Wells: Phone: (919) 733-5876 Email: Andy.Wells@ncleg.net

Committee (excluding Wiley):
-Rep. Harry Warren: Phone: 704-603-8898 Email: Harry.Warren@ncleg.net
-Rep. Mark Brody: Phone: 704-965-6585 Email: Mark.Brody@ncleg.net
-Rep. Dana Bumgardner: Phone: 704-861-1648 Email: Dana.Bumgardner@ncleg.net
-Sen. Chuck Edwards: Phone: (919) 733-5745 Email: Chuck.Edwards@ncleg.net
-Sen. Paul Newton: Phone: (919) 733-7223 Email: Paul.Newton@ncleg.net


CENSUS

Fill Out the Census Forms, then Remind Your Friends
Many of you should have received census forms in the mail today. Go get the envelope. I’ll wait….Fill it out and send it in. Then remind your friends to do the same. There are enormous benefits to an accurate census. It will ensure that North Carolina gets adequate representation. It will help with redrawing districts. It will help the government to apportion out federal resources. If you need reasons to fill it out, go here:

Reasons to do the Census:
https://www.prb.org/importance-of-us-census/

Instructions on how to do the Census Online:
https://www.vox.com/recode/2020/3/12/21168139/2020-census-online-how-to


EVENTS

Tuesdays with Tillis Goes Online
Since we’re trying to make sure that everyone stays healthy, Tuesdays with Tillis is going online this week. Well be trying to meet via Zoom, but hopefully we can still bring the passion and energy that we always bring so we can remind Sen. Tillis that he *still* is not listening to his constituents.

Details:
https://twitter.com/tillistuesdays/status/1239341126357827585


Originally posted on Indivisible Daily Call to Action.
Re-posted with permission.


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