The Trump administration plans to make it harder for people to qualify for U.S. food stamps, called Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), which it expects to trim the rolls by 700,000 people.
The president has questioned why 36 million people receive SNAP with the economy strong and unemployment low.
The administration has now finalized a rule that tightens guidelines on when and where states can waive limits on how long certain residents can receive benefits. The changes will move more “able-bodied” adults into the workplace, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said.
Perdue told reporters:
“States are seeking waivers for wide swaths of their population, and millions of people who could work are continuing to receive SNAP benefits.”
The United States generally limits the amount of time that adults ages 18-49, who do not have dependents or a disability, can receive food stamps to three months in a 36-month period, unless they meet certain work requirements or states apply for waivers due to tough economic times.
“We need everyone who can work to work.”
Not everyone agreed. U.S. Representative Marcia Fudge (D-OH) said:
“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.”
The latest rule will take effect next year and save the U.S. government $5.5 billion over five years by removing about 688,000 people from food stamps, said Brandon Lipps, a USDA deputy undersecretary.