Next Farm Bill: Changing the Treatment of LIHEAP Receipt in the Calculation of SNAP Benefits [September 17, 2013] [open pdf - 361KB]
"As Congress formulates the next farm bill--an omnibus bill that reauthorizes a range of agriculture and nutrition programs--program integrity and deficit reduction have been leading themes. One of the cost-saving measures in the 113th Congress's farm bill proposals would address the way in which Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits are calculated. The SNAP statute allows for certain deductions from income when calculating a household's benefit level, including an excess shelter deduction which incorporates utility costs. If a family receives benefits through another federal program, the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), this deduction from income can be higher, allowing for a higher SNAP benefit for the household. Bills in both the Senate and House would limit the deduction associated with LIHEAP, particularly seeking to end a practice that has been referred to as 'Heat and Eat.' Similar proposals were considered in the 112th Congress but were not enacted."
CRS Report for Congress, R42591
National Agricultural Law Center: http://nationalaglawcenter.org/