Press Release

Welch Outlines New Bills to Improve SNAP for Vermonters

Mar 15, 2024

SOUTH BURLINGTON, VT – Today, Sen. Peter Welch (D-Vt.), a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, visited the South Burlington Senior Center to discuss two new pieces of legislation he recently introduced, both of which are designed to ensure the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) accurately captures the financial reality of those who rely on the program. 

Sen. Welch recently introduced the COLAs Don’t Count Act, and the Student Loan Deduction Act of 2024, bills that would exempt annual cost-of-living adjustments (COLA) and student loan payments from impacting the benefits of the families and individuals who utilize SNAP. This would help ensure participants of SNAP are not losing benefits to the added costs of inflation and can more accurately report their available income after the expense of student loans is paid.  

“Today we discussed how rising costs are impacting spending power at the grocery store, and ways SNAP could be improved so that the program reflects the realities of the folks who utilize it,” said Senator Welch. “The bills I recently introduced will bolster and strengthen SNAP–a program nearly 70,000 Vermonters rely on–and provide updates that will improve food security.” 

The COLAs Don’t Count Act of 2024 exempts Social Security’s annual cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) from SNAP eligibility and benefit determinations. Railroad retirement and veterans’ benefit COLAs and state supplementation program payments would similarly be exempt. At a roundtable conversation the Senator convened in Morrisville last year, he heard firsthand accounts of Vermont seniors pushed over the income eligibility cap for SNAP. 

The Student Loan Deduction Act of 2024 would allow participants in SNAP to deduct monthly payments made on federal and private student loans from their income when calculating eligibility for SNAP benefits.   

Senator Welch was joined by representatives from HungerFree VT, Age Well VT, and others.