CHN’s Human Needs Watch: Tracking Hardship, June 2, 2023


June 2, 2023

June 2, 2023  

The We, the Hostages edition. Congress has passed the Fiscal Responsibility Act and it will soon be headed for President Biden’s signature. Passage will allow our nation to meet its obligations and avoid financial ruin. But the toll exacted by House Republicans during negotiations with the Biden Administration will be paid for years – and will harm the vulnerable and those with low incomes the most. 

As a result of the deal that was cut to avoid default, funding for domestic and international appropriations  will remain roughly flat in FY 2024, which begins October 1. For the following year, only a 1 percent increase in funding will be allowed. Given inflation and given the increased populations in some areas, that is really a cut.  Beyond that, the funding is flat on average – if popular programs like medical research get increases, other programs will have to be cut if no work-around is found.  Advocates will have their work cut out for them. 

CHN Executive Director Deborah Weinstein said this in a statement: 

“We the hostages appreciate the Biden Administration’s efforts to reduce the severity of these cuts and restrictions. But it is still a great disappointment that the basic thrust of this agreement is still to deny assistance to some of our poorest people. It will reduce investments that we badly need to overcome the worsening affordable housing crisis for low-income renters, to help students overcome the learning deficits that worsened during the pandemic, and to address mental health and substance abuse crises. It allows increases in the Pentagon without examining the evidence of military contractor price-gouging. It not only fails to secure new revenues from wealthy individuals and corporations, it undermines the IRS’ ability to collect taxes already owed from those with high incomes.” 

As you undoubtedly by now have heard, the Fiscal Responsibility Act imposes a combination of time limits and expanded work requirements on many SNAP and TANF recipients. Among SNAP recipients alone, 750,000 are at risk of losing benefits. When you scroll down, you will see a snapshot of how the most vulnerable will be affected. 



An estimated 62,000 child care slots will be lost due to the Fiscal Responsibility Act, further exacerbating the nation’s child care crisis and meaning even more women, and some men, will not be able to join the workforce. Tweet this.



Almost 750,000 older adults aged 50-54 will be at risk of losing SNAP benefits due to expansion of time limits/work rules, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Tweet this.


$615 million 

The USDA estimates that the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) will need an additional $615 million in FY 2024 in order to meet the program’s expanding caseload. But that increase might not be available because the Fiscal Responsibility Act caps most domestic appropriations between FY 2023 and FY 2024. Tweet this.


$13 billion 

Due to inflation, rising rents, and higher interest rates, key Department of Housing and Urban Development programs will need an additional $13 billion in FY 2024 just to maintain current levels of service. Again, that money may not be available. Tweet this.



Several hundred thousand SNAP recipients will begin to lose benefits in October 2023 because they don’t have the necessary work hours. That’s not because of the debt ceiling legislation, but rather due to the expiration of COVID-era protections on July 1. For those unable to document enough work, SNAP benefits are time-limited to only 3 months every 3 years. In October, the 3-month limit will have been exhausted if people cannot show enough work hours. Tweet this.


1 in 4 

One out of every four Americans participates in federal nutrition programs such as SNAP or WIC.


25 million 

25.4 million people in the U.S. reported that people in their households sometimes or often did not have enough to eat in the previous 7 days (surveyed 4/26 – 5/8 of this year). That’s 7.2 million more than 2 years ago – up from 8.7% to 11.3%



The per-person, per-day average amount of benefits SNAP recipients receive.


About half 


Among the 11 states that had removed 512,616 people from Medicaid through May after resuming checks on their eligibility, 3 states are removing about half of the people they are looking at: Florida (54%), Arkansas (51%) and Indiana (45%). 
States were required to keep people on Medicaid during the pandemic public health emergency; that requirement has now ended.  

More than 80% 

But in Florida, Arkansas, and Indiana, huge proportions of those dropped lost benefits not because they were proven to be ineligible, but for red tape reasons: they didn’t receive or answer a request for information, or couldn’t provide needed documents. That’s more than 88 percent of terminations in Arkansas and Indiana, and 82 percent in Florida.





debt ceiling
Human Needs Watch