Published July 24, 2019
WASHINGTON On Tuesday, the Trump administration’s Department of Agriculture announced its intention of changing the way states determine elgibility for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, benefits, most commonly known as food stamps.
The new proposed rule will cut off some three million people from the food stamp program.
The proposed rule published Tuesday in the Federal Register would limit SNAP/TANF automatic eligibility to households that receive substantial, ongoing TANF-funded benefits aimed at helping families move towards self-sufficiency. The proposed rule would fix a loophole that has expanded SNAP recipients in some states to include people who receive assistance when they clearly don’t need it. This proposal gives USDA the ability to save billions of dollars, ensuring nutrition assistance programs are delivered with consistency and integrity to those most in need.
“For too long, this loophole has been used to effectively bypass important eligibility guidelines. Too often, states have misused this flexibility without restraint,” said U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue. “The American people expect their government to be fair, efficient, and to have integrity – just as they do in their own homes, businesses, and communities. That is why we are changing the rules, preventing abuse of a critical safety net system, so those who need food assistance the most are the only ones who receive it.”
Supporters of the current food stamp program maintain it helps low-income families who work but have huge child care, housing and other expenses that leave them with insufficient money to buy food. States now have the flexibility to not cut off benefits as soon as a family’s gross income exceeds a certain level, but to more slowly phase out the food aid.
The new rule will cut off 265,000 schoolchildren from free lunches. Under the proposed rule, those children will have to apply separately to obtaing those lunches.
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