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RATIONALE:

A family of four in Hawaiʻi must earn $104,000 annually to make ends meet. However, to remain eligible for SNAP benefits, households must earn less than 200% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL)—only $69,000 annually for a family of four. 150,000 local residents earn too much to qualify for SNAP but too little to afford their basic needs.

Earning just $1 over the SNAP income limit causes a household to lose all benefits. That loss can amount to over $10,000 annually for a family of four. As a result, families often forgo future career advancement to avoid immediate food insecurity.

Expanded benefits would decrease gradually as household income approaches 300% of the FPL—approximately $103,000 annually for a family of four.

With expanded SNAP benefits, Hawaiʻi’s working families would be able to accept pay raises and work additional hours that make it possible to earn their way out of poverty. Providing this safety net would improve food security and health outcomes as well as foster local economic growth.

2024 Bills: 

HB 1661, SB 2135

TAKE ACTION NOW:

Public hearings are an opportunity for the public to weigh in on bills being considered by lawmakers. Submitting testimony for these hearings is an important way to let lawmakers know your position on these important issues. All you need to do is share why you are in strong support (we have some talking points below to get you started!). Each hearing may have different lawmakers, so you must submit testimony each time there is a new hearing.

Hearing Information

Bill: SB 2135
Position: Support
Date: Monday, February 12, 2024
Time: 1:02 PM
Committee: Senate Committee on Health and Human Services

Hearing Notice

How to Submit Testimony

  1. Log-in /make an account on the Capitol website.
  2. Go to the page for SB 2135 and click on the “Submit Testimony” button.
  3. Upload or write your testimony in SUPPORT of the bill (It doesn’t need to be long!).
  4. Please submit testimony by Sunday, February 11 at 1:02 PM (at least 24 hours in advance) to ensure your testimony is received on time and reviewed by the committee members! Late testimony will be accepted up until the time of the hearing.

TALKING POINTS:

  • No family should struggle to afford groceries regardless of their income level.
  • Expanding SNAP benefits will help those who earn too much to qualify for existing benefits, but not enough to afford Hawai‘i’s high cost of living.
  • Families who earn more, should have more money to spend. This bill will help make this a reality and end the current situation where earning more money results in a significant decrease in funds.
  • Families who are food secure are at far lower risk for negative health outcomes including stress, depression and chronic diseases.
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