The Trump Administration’s new rule change proposal would result in 3.1 million people losing access to critical nutrition assistance benefits.Once again, the Trump Administration is proposing drastic changes to SNAP, which would increase hunger and restrict states’ flexibility to provide vital nutrition support to people who are struggling to feed themselves and their families.
This time, USDA is proposing the elimination of Categorical Eligibility, an important flexibility option which enables states to slightly raise SNAP income eligibility limits and relax restrictive asset tests so that working families with modest savings can still receive benefits. This rule change would increase hunger in this country, particularly for working families who are struggling to feed themselves and build for a better future.
On July 23, 2019, the Trump Administration posted a notice for proposed rulemaking through the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to “revise” Categorical Eligibility in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). This is the most recent in a string of attacks on the nation’s most important anti-hunger program. This notice triggered a 60-day comment period which ends on September 23, 2019.
By USDA’s own estimate, this proposed rule change would result in 3.1 million people losing SNAP benefits. The people hurt most would be SNAP recipients who are working hard to break the cycle of poverty and put food on the table—households with seniors and people with disabilities would be hit particularly hard. Furthermore, since children in households that receive SNAP are automatically eligible for free school meals, over 500,000 children could lose free school meals as a result of this rule change. We are concerned that USDA has not been forthcoming or transparent about the effects of this proposed rule, including the specific impact on children and special populations like veterans.
This new attack against SNAP is another attempt to circumvent congressional intent as laid out in the bipartisan 2018 Farm Bill. The proposal could not be more out of touch with the reality of struggling American workers—particularly people who are working hard to pull themselves out of poverty, trying to avoid debt and build assets, and striving for economic independence. We stand in opposition to this cruel and callous attempt to punish those who struggle with hunger.
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