A Minnesota state senator wants to tighten the rules on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) after a local millionaire, in full compliance with the law, collected food stamps for more than a year.
Rob Undersander was on Fox Business Thursday to explain how he pulled it off, noting that eligibility for SNAP is based on income only in Minnesota.
“I was doing some volunteer work for the Central Minnesota Council on Aging where we helped seniors sign up for Medicare plans, navigate numerous resources and other social programs. I received formal training for this from the state of Minnesota. During one of the classes, they handed out a food stamp application in the event that we needed to help seniors fill it out, explaining that eligibility is based on income only. In comparison, for many other programs eligibility was ascending income limits and assets for descending benefits,” Undersander said.
“In other words, if a person has money in the bank or in their retirement account, they don’t necessarily need government assistance. At the time, my wife and I were recently retired, drawing very little income, living off our savings—living very well. And I thought to myself: would I be eligible for this? So I filled out the application and three weeks later I’m getting hundreds of dollars of food stamps,” he continued.
According to Undersander, he didn’t lie or commit any fraud when filling out the application.
“Just the opposite. On that application, I used an abundance of caution in complying with the law” he said.
Undersander testified Thursday before the U.S. House Agriculture Subcommittee on Nutrition, Oversight, and Department Operations, where Democrats accused him of committing fraud.
“You did this all to continue the right-wing crusade against poor people,” said Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-OH-11).
“I’ve worked hard all my life, I’ve saved money, that’s the way I was raised, to live off those savings later in life,” Undersander said in response to the allegations. “My goal in doing this is certainly not the publicity. I really want the law changed in Minnesota so that the money goes to the truly needy.”
State Sen. Jeff Howe (R-Rockville) introduced a bill last session to fix the loopholes in the system, but the bill never made it out of committee.
Howe and Undersander appeared together on Fox & Friends Friday morning to discuss the legislation.
Their full interview can be watched below:
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