Office of the Vermont Attorney General

Attorney General Donovan and Stakeholders Once Again Join Forces in Defense of 3SquaresVT

November 22, 2019

Contact: Charity Clark, Chief of Staff, 802-828-3171

 

Coalition Urges Vermonters to Submit Comments on Proposed Cuts to Benefits

Attorney General T.J. Donovan, joined by several stakeholders, announced that his office will be submitting comments in opposition to the Trump Administration’s third proposal in the past year to cut benefits from SNAP, known in Vermont as 3SquaresVT. The latest proposal threatens to cut over $25 million in benefits to Vermonters by changing the way in which utility costs, including heating and cooling, are calculated when determining benefit amounts. The change will result in a benefit reduction for an estimated 68 percent of Vermont households receiving 3SquaresVT. The average monthly 3SquaresVT benefit per Vermont household is currently $216. However, if this rule goes into effect, benefits would decrease by an average of $82 per month, and will disproportionately impact elders and people living with disabilities. Hunger Free Vermont, the Vermont Center for Independent Living, the Vermont Area Agencies on Aging, and the Vermont Retail and Grocers Association joined Attorney General Donovan and his Elder Protection Initiative in urging Vermonters to once again support 3SquaresVT by submitting public comments before the December 2nd deadline.

“If enacted, this change in calculating utility deductions will have a devastating impact on many Vermonters receiving 3SquaresVT,” said Attorney General Donovan. “Vermont’s older housing stock coupled with our cold climate means that we live in a state with high heating costs. Vermonters, especially elders and people living with disabilities, should not have to make impossible choices each month between paying for food or medicine, utilities, or housing—it’s unacceptable.”

“During National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week, we are calling on every Vermonter to join forces to oppose these cruel cuts,” said Hunger Free Vermont Executive Director, Anore Horton. “Let’s give thanks for 3SquaresVT—a program that works to lift thousands of our neighbors out of hunger and poverty each year, and there for all of us should we need it.”

For many years, 3SquaresVT has kept Vermonters from going hungry. This proposal would cause more than 26,000 Vermont households, 68 percent of recipients, to lose an average of $82 a month in benefits. Not only will this create greater food insecurity for Vermonters, but it will take money out of Vermont’s economy at an average of $25 million per year. A benefit reduction of $82 a month means less money is being put back into the local economy at grocery stores and farmers markets.

Individuals, organizations, committees, coalitions, and agencies wishing to submit public comments must do so by December 2nd. More information, including a link to the public comment portal, may be found on Hunger Free Vermont’s website.

Last modified: November 22, 2019