Who Will Be Impacted And How
After West Virginia ran its pilot program, the Mountaineer Food Bank immediately saw an increase in people relying on food pantries across the impacted counties, says Morrison.
Its putting tremendous stress on our emergency food system, Morrison says. And its not accomplishing the things that is wanting to see happen. Its not helping anyone in West Virginia, I can say that.
Now, he expects the state will see similar patterns when the federal rule is implemented. Theres a tremendous amount of people that are struggling, he adds. The population of people that this is going to impact the most are people that are already facing really unique barriers to access food.
Rural communities, for example, who dont have access to transportation or consistent work opportunities.
The rule will impact states differently, depending on which states are currently utilizing a waver, but eventually, the policy has the potential to impact each state, Vollinger says. Almost all states at one time or another under Democratic and Republican governance and under Democratic and Republican USDA Administrations, have sought and gotten approval for wavers on criteria that now the USDA wants to walk away from, she says.
The new rule also doesnt account for people who are actively searching for work or whether those with a job are simply not being offered enough hours to meet the requirement.
Advocates Halted Changes Set To Go Into Effect Today That Would Have Left Nearly A Million Us Residents Hungry
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Nydia Dominguez is a 64-year-old grandmother of four in Newburgh, New York. Through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, Dominguez receives $500 a month to feed herself and her young grandchildren. With SNAPcolloquially known as food stampsand a little thrift at the grocery store, she manages to provide meals for her family and even neighbors in need.
I budget everything, says Dominguez. I go through all the specials, and thats how I work it out.
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Trump Usda Resumes Effort To Cut Food Stamp Benefits For At Least 700000 People During Pandemic
With hunger rising at an alarming rate across the U.S.particularly among childrenas the coronavirus crisis sends unemployment to levels not seen since the Great Depression, the Trump administration this week resumed its effort to strip nutrition benefits from more than a million people by appealing a court ruling that blocked the Agriculture Department from imposing more punitive work requirements.
After briefly backing off its push to implement the rule change last month, the USDA on Tuesday filed court documents appealing Judge Beryl Howells stay of the administrations long-sought policy, which would limit states ability to waive work requirements for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program .
While the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which President Donald Trump signed into law in March, suspended SNAP work requirements for the duration of the public health emergency, analysts have warned that the economic crisis and the need for nutrition assistance will persist long after Covid-19 is effectively contained.
Rep. Marcia Fudge ripped the USDAs appeal in a statement late Wednesday, saying that if Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue and other Trump administration officials had any decency or compassion, they would abandon this appeal immediately.
Dems need to run campaign ads on this monstrous cruelty. has some text to start with:
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Biden Nixes Trump Proposal That Would Have Kicked 3 Million Off Food Stamps
NEW YORK, NY – DECEMBER 05: A sign alerting customers about SNAP food stamps benefits is displayed at a Brooklyn grocery store on December 5, 2019 in New York City. Earlier this week the Trump Administration announced stricter requirements for food stamps benefits that would cut support for nearly 700,000 poor Americans.
In one of its latest steps to erase Trump administration policies, the Biden administration has withdrawn a controversial proposal that could have kicked 3 million Americans off of food stamps and cost nearly 1 million children automatic eligibility for free school meals.
The proposal, issued in 2019, would have tightened the rules governing who qualifies for food stamps. It would have curtailed so-called broad-based categorical eligibility, which makes it easier for Americans with somewhat higher incomes and more savings to participate in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, the formal name for food stamps. Republicans have long argued that this expanded eligibility option is a ‘loophole’ that permits those with higher incomes and assets to get public assistance.
The Biden administration has pushed to expand access to and generosity of food stamps, saying the safety net program is critical to helping struggling Americans get through the pandemic. Hunger had spiked at the start of the outbreak, though it has fallen since then.
What Is The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program
Examples of food stamp programs can be traced as far back as 1936, but the Food Stamp Act of 1964 established a permanent program. Since then, millions of people have been able to qualify for governmental assistance in order to better afford food. In 1996, Congress enacted a series of welfare reforms, including setting a time limit on food stamp benefits, with the caveat that states can apply for waivers to the time limits and work requirements during times of high unemployment and economic downturns. For example, the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010 left many unemployed in several Gulf states, therefore time limits and work requirements on SNAP benefits were waived.
Since 1996, nearly every state in the country has utilized a waiver. During the height of the recession, the Obama Administration temporarily did away with the waiver program altogether, in order to allow the neediest to retain their SNAP benefits during nationwide high unemployment.
Today, food stamps are no longer actual stamps, but an EBT card that can be used at most grocery retailers across the country. In Fiscal Year 2018, 39.7 million people received SNAP benefits. Of those, 2.9 million were able-bodied adults between the ages of 18-49 without a dependent nearly 74% of whom, the USDA says, were not working.
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Harvest Box Proposal Would Shift Billions In Food Purchasing From Snap Households To The Government
As it did the last two years, President Trumps budget calls for the Agriculture Department to hold back an estimated $20 to $30 billion per year in SNAP benefits about 40 percent of the benefits issued to households and use about half of these funds to give households eligible for SNAP benefits of $90 or more a month a box of non-perishable foods such as shelf-stable milk, ready-to-eat cereals, pasta, peanut butter, beans, and canned foods. The box would be in lieu of food that these households would otherwise purchase with that part of their SNAP benefits at the grocery store. Participants apparently would have no choice in what food they received.
The other half of the held-back funds would be eliminated, resulting in about $120 billion in federal SNAP cuts over ten years households wouldnt receive these benefits in any form. These changes would take away food choices and pose new food access hurdles for an estimated 32 million people in 15 million households in 2021, or almost 90 percent of SNAP participants.
Trump Admin Says Millionaires Are Abusing Food Stamps So 31 Million People Lose Benefits
The Trump administration proposed a new rule Tuesday that could cut more than 3 million people off of food stamps, according to officials at The U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The rule change would tighten eligibility requirements for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, which the Trump administration says would reduce costs and limit abuse and fraud.
All but seven states currently allow families who are enrolled to receive Temporary Assistance for Needy Families benefits, a welfare program similar to food stamps, to automatically enroll for SNAP benefits. The change would now require TANF-enrolled families to pass an audit of their income and assets before becoming eligible for SNAP.
The Trump administration predicts these audits would kick 3.1 million Americans off of food stamps and save about $2.5 billion each year.
“Some states are taking advantage of loopholes that allow people to receive the SNAP benefits who would otherwise not qualify and for which they are not entitled,” said USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue on a press call this week.
On the call, Brandon Lipps, USDA acting deputy undersecretary, said that the Trump administration did not need congressional approval to limit the eligibility requirements.
“Unfortunately, automatic eligibility has expanded to allow even millionaires and others who simply receive a TANF-funded brochure to become eligible for SNAP when they clearly don’t need it,” said Lipps.
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Trump Administration Refuses To Postpone Food Benefit Cut
Since last week Democrats have called on President Donald Trumps administration to delay a planned food benefit cut because of the rapidly expanding coronavirus outbreak, but administration officials have said no.
Starting next month, the U.S. Department of Agriculture will tighten rules for unemployed adults who dont have minor children or disabilities, a policy that will shrink food benefit enrollment by 700,000, or about 2% annually.
Democrats are planning to vote Thursday on an economic stimulus bill that includes a provision suspending so-called work requirements in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. Its not clear if the legislation can clear the Senate, however, given Republican opposition to other parts of the bill.
At a Tuesday hearing, Rep. Sanford Bishop called the impending food benefit cut particularly cruel in light of the coronavirus outbreak that will likely cause large numbers of Americans to lose their jobs or deliberately avoid work to limit the contagion.
In response to Bishop, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue declined to postpone the rule, and on Thursday, USDA spokespeople referred HuffPost back to Perdues Tuesday comment.
Perdue said states would have flexibility to waive limits on benefits for good cause for people affected by the coronavirus outbreak.
In response to the coronavirus pandemic, the USDA announced this week that it would allow schools to continue serving meals to low-income students if their schools close.
Mmeasure Was First Of Three Intended To Restrict Federal Food Safety Net
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A federal judge on Sunday formally struck down a Trump administration attempt to end food stamp benefits for nearly 700,000 unemployed people, blocking as “arbitrary and capricious” the first of three such planned measures to restrict the federal food safety net.
In a 67-page opinion, Chief US District Judge Beryl Howell of the District of Columbia condemned the Agriculture Department for not justifying or even addressing the impact of the sweeping change on states, saying its shortcomings had been placed in stark relief amid the coronavirus pandemic, during which unemployment has quadrupled and rosters of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program have grown by more than 17 per cent with more than six million new enrolees.
The rule “at issue in this litigation radically and abruptly alters decades of regulatory practice, leaving States scrambling and exponentially increasing food insecurity for tens of thousands of Americans,” Howell wrote, adding that the Agriculture Department “has been icily silent about how many would have been denied SNAP benefits had the changes sought . . . been in effect while the pandemic rapidly spread across the country.”
The judge concluded that the department’s “utter failure to address the issue renders the agency action arbitrary and capricious.”
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Presidents 2021 Budget Would Cut Food Assistance For Millions And Radically Restructure Snap
President Trumps 2021 budget proposes to cut the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program by more than $180 billion nearly 30 percent over the next ten years by radically restructuring how benefits are delivered, taking SNAP away from millions of adults who are not working more than 20 hours a week, and reducing benefits for many other households. The budget also includes two proposals to curtail students access to free and reduced-price school meals. The proposed cuts would come on top of nearly $50 billion in cuts over ten years that the Administration is seeking through regulatory action, bringing the Administrations total plan for cutting SNAP to about $230 billion over ten years compared to current policies.
“President Trumps 2021 budget proposes to cut SNAP by more than $180 billion nearly 30 percent over the next ten years by radically restructuring how benefits are delivered.”Unemployed workers, elderly individuals, people with disabilities, and low-income working families with children would bear the brunt of the cuts. And the combination of tax cuts and program cuts in the Presidents budget as a whole would increase income inequality and widen racial disparities.
Budgets Food Assistance Cuts Come on Top of Recent SNAP Regulations
The Administrations three regulatory changes would:
What Has Been The Response To The New Policy
Many, including Emily Weikert Bryant, executive director of the Feeding Indianas Hungry food bank in Indianapolis, have expressed anger and frustration at the new rule. She joins many Democratic lawmakers, food bank organizers and several Presidential candidates, in criticizing the government.
Indiana has not utilized a waiver for SNAP benefits in some years, Weikert Bryant tells TIME, but her concern is for the future.
To restrict access, or to restrict states options when they need them is the wrong way to do this, she says. Were not talking about cash, were not talking about superfluous things it ultimately comes down to a meal.
Vollinger, Morrison and Weikert Bryant say they worry that reducing SNAP benefits could also be a detriment to retailers who might experience less consumer spending as a result.
The new rule might still face legal or legislative challenges. Meanwhile, in West Virginia, Morrison says the food bank is preparing for a potential uptick in needs come April. As a food bank, were always trying to think ahead, he says. But in a resource-scarce environment, its sometimes harder.
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Rule Three: Capping The Standard Utility Allowance
To calculate eligibility for SNAP and the amount of benefits a household receives, the USDA estimates how much money that household has to spend by subtracting its monthly costs from its total income to get a sense of how much money the family has left for food. To simplify these calculations, states have developed some standard costs rather than relying on individually reported costs from every SNAP applicant.
One of those standard costs is known as the Standard Utility Allowance, which is an average utility estimate for a household. Across states, the Standard Utility Allowance can range from $278 to $826 depending on household size and other factors. In general, the higher the Standard Utility Allowance, the less money a state estimates a household has left over for groceries after paying for utilities, and the more money they will receive in SNAP benefits.
In October 2019, the USDA announced a regulatory change that would standardize the formula for those calculations across every state and use a USDA-determined cap to decide how much in utility costs families can ultimately deduct from their incomes. This small technical change, however, has far-ranging impacts on the people who rely on SNAP. It would cut the program by $4.5 billion over five years and leave 7 million people with even fewer benefits than before.
Ap Fact Check: Trump On Drop In Food Stamp Rolls
WASHINGTON A look at President Donald Trumps statement Tuesday night on food stamps and how it compares with the facts:
TRUMP, describing progress over the last two years: Nearly 5 million Americans have been lifted off food stamps.
THE FACTS: The number of people receiving food stamps actually hasnt declined that much.
Government data show there were 44.2 million people participating in the Supplemental Nutrition and Assistance Program in 2016, before Trump took office. In 2018, there were 40.3 million people participating in SNAP. Thats a decline of 3.9 million, not the 5 million that Trump talked about.
The number of people participating in the SNAP program peaked in 2013 and has been going down since that time.
Trumps last budget proposed cutting SNAP by $213 billion over 10 years. The administration also has been pushing to give states more flexibility in implementing the program, including tightening work requirements for recipients.
Find AP Fact Checks at http://apne.ws/2kbx8bd
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Food Aid: An Economic Boost
Despite the Trump administration’s efforts to rein in the food stamp program, Congress recently has expanded benefits through several measures in its stimulus bills. For instance, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act included nearly $16 billion in additional funding for SNAP.
But policy experts say more is needed as the fallout from the pandemic continues. Experts with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation say the typical benefit should be expanded by 15% until the crisis abates. The time limit for able-bodied adults without dependents should also be waived until the downturn eases, they recommend.
SNAP should also become more flexible, experts say. For instance, food stamps generally can’t be used to buy prepared foods, like restaurant meals, or for online grocery orders troublesome restrictions as Americans are told to maintain social distance and avoid unnecessary contact with others.
“We are seeing ‘stay at home as much as you can’ recommendations, and even ‘get your food delivered’,” noted Giridhar Mallya, senior policy officer at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. “Federally and in states, they should be looking at multiple types of flexibility” for purchasing groceries with food stamps.
With reporting by Rachel Layne