Congresswoman Gwen Moore Applauds Senate Introduction of COLAs Don’t Count Act, Legislation to Strengthen SNAP Benefits for Social Security Recipients

Congresswoman Gwen Moore Applauds Senate Introduction of COLAs Don’t Count Act, Legislation to Strengthen SNAP Benefits for Social Security Recipients  

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congresswoman Gwen Moore applauded U.S. Senator Peter Welch (D-Vt.) leading efforts to introduce the COLAs Don’t Count Act in the Senate. This legislation would exempt annual cost-of-living adjustments (COLA) from impacting the benefits of the families and individuals who utilize the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) for food assistance and Social Security. Congresswoman Gwen Moore (D-WI-4) has introduced companion legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives.   

The COLAs Don’t Count Act of 2024 is cosponsored by Senators Alex Padilla (D-Calif.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), and Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and exempts Social Security’s annual cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) from SNAP eligibility and benefit determinations. Railroad retirement and veterans’ benefits COLAs and state supplementation program payments would similarly be exempt.

“Social Security’s COLA is a vital enhancement to account for inflation because it helps support sustained and sufficient retirement and disability benefits. But COLA increases should not cost one’s food assistance, especially since these same individuals are more likely to be feeling the pain of higher food prices. By better aligning these programs with the needs of the Americans they serve, we better ensure that both programs can keep fulfilling their missions. Without congressional action, many vulnerable Americans including seniors, veterans, and individuals with disabilities could see their SNAP benefits decrease annually. Our COLAs Don’t Count Act is a needed solution that will protect access to SNAP benefits for millions of Americans and help prevent food insecurity. Food isn’t an optional expense, it’s essential, which is why we must act now,” said Congresswoman Gwen Moore

“Nearly 70,000 Vermonters rely on SNAP—it’s essential that the program accurately captures the financial reality of those who utilize it to put food on the table. Yet increasingly we’re seeing SNAP recipients lose out because of outdated income requirements that don’t reflect stresses like high student loan payments and increased cost of living expenses and inflation,” said Senator Welch. “These bills account for hardships people experience every day and aim to ensure these costs don’t impact any Vermonters’ ability to receive SNAP benefits.” 

For 2023, Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits increased by 8.7%, the largest increase in the past 40 years. The average Social Security check rose by more than $140 a month. While cost-of-living adjustments to SSI ensure that benefits are keeping with rising costs caused by inflation, the inability of beneficiaries to deduct those adjustments leads to an erosion of SNAP benefits. In 2023, an estimated 28,000 SNAP households completely lost their eligibility, and approximately 36% of SNAP beneficiaries average a decrease of $32 a month from their SNAP benefits. 

The COLAs Don’t Count Act is endorsed by Hunger Free Vermont, Century Foundation and its Disability Economic Justice Collaborative, Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin, Food Research and Action Center, National Council on Aging, Social Security Works, and Strengthen Social Security Coalition. 

Learn more about the COLAs Don’t Count Act here and read the full text of the bill here


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