WASHINGTON – Congresswoman Jahana Hayes (CT-05) introduced legislation to support the essential workers administering the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). The SNAP Administrator Retention Act aims to improve access to needed benefits, promote competitive wages for administrators, provide adequate training, and support workers to prevent backlogs.

SNAP is the leading anti-hunger program in the nation. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, the program reduces the occurrence of food insecurity by 30%. SNAP administrators provide application assistance, answer client questions, and offer verification guidance for SNAP applicants. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, these staff members were stretched beyond capacity as they worked to ensure families were fed.

In July 2023, Congresswoman Hayes, who serves as the Ranking Member of the House Subcommittee on Nutrition, Foreign Agriculture, and Horticulture, welcomed Congressman Bennie G. Thompson (MS-02) and Congressman Jim McGovern (MA-02) to the Fifth District for a round table focused on nutrition in the Farm Bill. As members of the House Democratic Task Force on Nutrition and Agriculture, lawmakers heard directly from SNAP administrators who stressed the importance of increasing administrative funding in the next Farm Bill to ensure staff are supported as they provide critical services for their communities. 

During our listening session, I took note of the calls for additional funding and support for SNAP administrators. Employees reported dealing with high workloads that negatively impacted wait times and the efficiency of the program. Streamlining the application and approval process are essential for feeding families and other vulnerable members of our communities,” said Congresswoman Hayes. “In my district, over 12% of households are enrolled in SNAP and rely on the work of these staff members. Addressing the needs of SNAP administrators will lower wait-times for nutrition benefits, address staffing shortages, and increase retention rates.”

Specifically, the SNAP Administrator Retention Act would:

  1. Allow states to receive 100 percent of the administrative personnel costs associated with hiring and retaining the merit staff who carry out the SNAP program;
  1. Align the wages of state SNAP administrators with the federal wage standards.

Read the full text here.

Endorsers: American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), NAACP, Connecticut Foodshare, Connecticut Alliance of Foster & Adoptive Families, End Hunger CT!, Waterbury Bridge to Success, Well Fed Connecticut, United Way of Coastal and Western Connecticut.