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The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress, and was published on Aug 5, 2021.
Making Essentials Available and Lawful (MEAL) Act of 2021
This bill repeals a lifetime ban that prohibits individuals convicted of certain offenses related to the possession, use, or distribution of a controlled substance from receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits or assistance under programs funded by Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) block grants. Any state law that imposes conditions on eligibility for SNAP benefits or TANF assistance based on an individual's conviction of such an offense shall have no force or effect.
In addition, individuals who are incarcerated and scheduled to be released within 30 days shall qualify as individual households for purposes of SNAP eligibility. Under current law, unless specifically excepted, individuals residing in institutions do not constitute a household.