You answered our call for help with securing funding in the SC House budget for the SC Department of Social Service’s (DSS) Healthy Bucks program. Now, we need your help with ensuring Healthy Bucks and an upgrade to the SNAP processing system are included in the SC Senate budget.
DSS has requested $5 million in the 2023-2024 budget to expand the Healthy Bucks program, which allows families to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables at participating farmers markets and roadside stands. DSS has also requested $8.7 million to update the system they use to run Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits. DSS uses an outdated mainframe system to determine SNAP and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) eligibility in the state and to process payments to retailers when SNAP recipients buy groceries. Because of the age of the system, which processes about $1.8 billion worth of SNAP payments each year, DSS cannot make updates or improvements, which poses significant risks to the state.
The SC Senate Finance Committee is meeting next week to discuss the allocation for the DSS requests, and we would love for the members of that committee to hear from you before they vote on these requests.
Do you live in one of the SC Senate Districts listed below? If you do, please call your senator any time between now and Tuesday afternoon (April 4) and let them know that you hope they vote in favor of the DSS budget requests. If you have personal stories related to the Healthy Bucks or SNAP program, please feel free to share those.
We’ve created a script to make it easier for you! Talk to your legislator or leave a voicemail and follow up via email.
Step 1: Phone Call
Call your senator if they are listed below. Use the telephone script below to convey the message. Leave a voicemail, if prompted.
Hello Sen. [Name], my name is [Your Name] and I am one of your constituents. I understand that the Senate Finance Committee will discuss the DSS-requested Healthy Bucks budget appropriations in the coming days and wanted to let you know that I hope you vote to support the $5 million request for the Healthy Bucks program and the $8.7 million request to start developing a new economic services system to process SNAP and TANF benefits. By expanding the Healthy Bucks program and upgrading the processing system, families across our state will have greater and timelier access to nutritious produce and local farmers will have improved economic development opportunities.
[If speaking directly to the Senator]:
Are you committed to supporting the DSS-requested Healthy Bucks and processing system appropriations in committee? *answer* Thank you for your time.
[If leaving a voicemail]:
Again, I hope you’ll consider voting to support the DSS-requested Healthy Bucks and SNAP processing system appropriations. Thank you. [Feel free to leave callback information if you’d like.]
Step 2: Follow-up Email
Did you leave a voicemail? Follow up with an email to ensure your message is received. Use the message we’ve created for you to send.
Follow-up Email Body
Hello Sen. [Name], my name is [Your Name] and I am one of your constituents. I left you a voicemail today, but am following up via email to ensure you get the message. I understand that the Senate Finance Committee will discuss the DSS-requested budget appropriations in the coming days and wanted to let you know that I hope you vote to support the $5 million request in the state budget for expanding the Healthy Bucks program and the $8.7 million request to upgrade the SNAP and TANF processing system. By expanding the Healthy Bucks program and upgrading the processing system, families across our state will have greater and timelier access to nutritious produce, which has long-term health and communal benefits and local farmers will have improved economic development opportunities. Again, I hope you’ll consider voting to support the DSS-requested appropriations. Thank you. [Feel free to leave callback information if you’d like.]
If you’re interested in learning more about the Health Bucks program: https://dss.sc.gov/assistance-programs/food-and-nutrition-programs/healthy-bucks/
Thank you for all you do for our District and the state.
SC Senate Finance Committee to contact:
Harvey Peeler, Jr. (R)
District 14, Cherokee, Spartanburg, Union & York
Thomas Alexander (R)
District 1, Oconee and PIckens
Darrell Jackson (D)
District 21, Richland
Katrina Shealy (R)
District 23, Lexington
Tom Davis (R)
District 46, Beaufort and Jasper
Danny Verdin (R)
District 9, Greenville and Laurens
Karl Allen (D)
District 7, Greenville
Nikki Setzler (D)
District 26, Aiken, Calhoun, Lexington & Saluda
John Scott (D)
District 19, Richland
Sean Bennett (R)
District 38, Berkeley, Charleston & Dorchester
Greg Hembree (R)
District 28, Dillon & Horry
Thomas McElveeen (D)
District 35, Kershaw, Lee, Richland & Sumter
Ross Turner (R)
District 8, Greenville
Mike Fanning (D)
District 17, Chester, Fairfield & York
Tom Young (R)
District 24, Aiken
Larry Grooms (R)
District 37, Berkeley & Charleston
Ronnie Cromer (R)
District 18, Lexington, Newberry & Union
Kent Williams (D)
District 30, Dillon, Florence, Horry, Marion & Marlboro
Shane Martin (R)
District 13, Greenville, Spartanburg & Union
Tom Corbin (R)
District 5, Greenville & Spartanburg
Kevin Johnson (D)
District 36, Clarendon, Darlington, Florence & Sumter
Michael Gambrell (R)
District 4, Abbeville, Anderson & Greenwood
Stephen Goldfinch (R)
District 34, Charleston, Georgetown & Horry