USDA strengthening SNAP eligibility rules

December 21, 2018

This link will take you to a PDF file released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture explaining the proposed changes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) requirements. The changes affect Able Bodied Adults Without Disabilities (ABAWDs) who are currently receiving SNAP benefits. The changed requirements will limit the waivers that individuals states can give, as well as limit the length of time an ABAWD can receive benefits (3 months in a 36 month period).

According to the Associated Press, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said the proposed rule is a trade-off for President Trump’s support of the Farm Bill, which the president signed Thursday. There is also a provision in the proposal that requires “full endorsement by State government before waivers are considered.”  What this “full endorsement” will mean is not yet known.

“I have directed Secretary Perdue to use his authority to close work requirement loopholes in the food stamp program,” the president said at the signing ceremony. “That was a difficult thing to get done, but the farmers wanted it done, we all wanted it done, and in the end, it’s going to make a lot of people happy.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday slammed the Trump administration’s efforts to restrict SNAP.

“Why at Christmas would you take food out of the mouths of American people?” she asked.

Senator Debbie Stabenow of Michigan, ranking member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, was one of the top negotiators on the Farm Bill compromise that passed both houses of Congress and was signed into law by President Trump. Speaking on the proposed rule change,  she said, “This regulation blatantly ignores the bipartisan farm bill that the president is signing today and disregards over 20 years of history giving states flexibility to request waivers based on local job conditions,” Stabenow said. “I expect the rule will face significant opposition and legal challenges.”

woman with two children and shopping cart at grocery store checkout

Woman making purchases using her SNAP benefits by is licensed under CC BY 2.0

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