Trump administration to propose plan to tighten food stamp requirements

Study: Millions could lose food stamps under SNAP proposal

Study: Millions could lose food stamps under SNAP proposal

The Trump administration announced Wednesday that it has finalized a plan to tighten punitive work requirements for food stamp recipients, a move that would strip nutrition assistance from an estimated 750,000 low-income people by mid-2020.

Officials say that about 7 percent of the individuals on SNAP are considered able-bodied adults without dependents (ABWDs) and that the rule will save the government $5.5 billion over five years. Under current law, adults without dependents can get SNAP benefits for three months out of a three-year period, but some states have issued waivers to allow for individuals to continue to receive benefits.

"We want to encourage people by giving them a helping hand, but not an infinitely giving hand", he said.

"Americans are generous people", U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue told reporters on the call.

"This is an unacceptable escalation of the administration's war on working families, and it comes during a time when too many are forced to stretch already-thin budgets to make ends meet", said US Congressional Representative Marcia Fudge, an Ohio State Democrat. He urged better job training and a higher minimum wage instead.

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"Pay attention. This is what cruelty looks like", tweeted the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights in response to the completed rule, which would be the first of a series of proposed food stamp cuts to take effect.

The administration has sought to tighten requirements for food stamps without congressional approval after the US Congress blocked a Trump-backed effort to pass new restrictions through the Farm Bill a year ago. In addition to restricting time limit waivers, the USDA has proposed eliminating broad-based categorical eligibility, a measure that allows recipients of certain non-cash public benefits to automatically qualify for food stamps, and changing how utility costs are factored into benefit calculations.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., blasted the Trump administration's efforts to reduce public benefits. "This rule lays the groundwork for the expectation that able-bodied Americans re-enter the workforce where there are now more job openings than people to fill them".

"If the rule is implemented, the nation would see higher rates of hunger and poverty", Weill said in a statement. A year ago the administration announced it would allow states to impose work requirements on Medicaid recipients.

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