Iowa House Approves Bill to Require New Identity Verification and Asset Tests for Food Assistance Recipients

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The Iowa House of Representatives has passed a new bill requiring new asset tests and regular eligibility checks for all public assistance recipients, including those who receive food assistance benefits.

SNAP Benefits
Iowa lawmakers passed a new bill for SNAP benefits. (Photo: CBPP)

New Bill is Now on the Governor’s Desk

The bill had already been passed by the Senate in March, meaning it now only requires the governor’s signature to become law. The move is part of a long-running campaign by Iowa Republicans to introduce new requirements and identity verification for those receiving public assistance. Proponents of the bill argue that it will save taxpayers’ money and help to ensure benefits are going to those who need them most.

However, critics of the bill have argued that fraud is extremely low and that deserving families could lose benefits as a result of the new asset tests. Additionally, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is entirely federally funded, meaning that any savings to the state would be negligible, according to a published article in Des Moines Register.

More than 200 faith leaders across the state have signed a letter opposing the bill on “moral, religious and humanitarian grounds,” while Democrats have spoken out against the proposed asset tests, arguing that they could discourage people from saving for college or unexpected emergency costs.

READ ALSO: Senate Democrats Urge Biden Administration To Address Food Insecurity For Low-Income Individuals And Disabled Adults

Terms Under the New Bill

Under the terms of the bill, state agencies that deliver benefits, including the Department of Health and Human Services and Iowa Workforce Development, would be required to check new sources of information to determine if Iowans are eligible for assistance.

In a published article in KCCI, before Iowans could be enrolled in benefit programs, they would also need to verify their identity through a questionnaire that could be completed online, in person, or by phone. The bill would require Medicaid recipients in Iowa to cooperate with child support services as a condition of receiving benefits through the program.

Finally, any Iowa households with liquid assets of more than $15,000 would not be eligible to receive SNAP benefits. However, the limit would not count the value of a home, the household’s first car, and up to $10,000 of the value of a second household car.

READ ALSO: Richmond To Offer $500 Monthly Stipend To Struggling Families For Third Time


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