Food Bank Calls On Texas Legislators To Update Test That Penalizes Needy For Having More Than 1 Vehicle – CBS Dallas / Fort Worth
FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – The Tarrant Area Food Bank (TAFB) is calling on state lawmakers to address so-called “obsolete” policies that prevent Texans from receiving food aid if they own more than one reliable vehicle.
The Texas Vehicle Asset Test denies otherwise eligible families the SNAP benefits if the value of their cars exceeds a certain threshold by a significant amount. Food bank officials say the baseline hasn’t been updated in decades.
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The policy requires government officials to determine vehicle values for each SNAP claimant. And according to the TAFB, this assessment disputes “disproportionately two households with two parents and families looking for or maintaining employment”.
There is no federal requirement for states to conduct a vehicle asset test. 35 states have abolished it in total.
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“Reliable transportation, often private vehicles, is essential for families to have access to jobs and nutritious food,” said Julie Butner, President and CEO of TAFB. “This is especially true in communities where the nearest grocery store is not within walking distance and public transport is not readily available.”
Texas lawmakers are currently considering HB 1230, a bill that would change the practice in light of the economic challenges so many Texas families are currently facing.
Food banks across Texas saw a dramatic increase in the number of people seeking help due to COVID-19.
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“The image of so many cars lining up for groceries was a wake-up call for policy makers,” said Celia Cole, CEO of Feeding Texas. “Having vehicles to help you get to work and get the kids to school shouldn’t be a barrier to access to help when you need it most.”