The latest efforts of the Trump administration may have disastrous consequences for three million Americans and result with them being kicked off food stamps, per CNN.
The possible results come after the Trump administration makes an effort to restrict the rules that govern how individuals qualify for food stamps. The Agricultural Department proposed something that diminishes “broad-based categorical eligibility,” which makes it easier for Americans with slightly high incomes or savings eligible for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
Broad-based categorical eligibility simply makes the food stamp eligibility process faster by allowing families who qualify for certain benefits under the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program to automatically be eligible for SNAP. Currently, 40 states implement broad-based categorical eligibility.
SNAP currently covers 38 million Americans, and this isn’t the first time the Trump administration has tried to cut back on the food stamp system. The proposed plan will require individuals to work more to earn SNAP benefits, as well as change the way the government calculates the poverty threshold. The plan to change the poverty threshold could result in many low-income families being stripped of other federal initiatives and benefits, as well.
Before the Trump administration, GOP lawmakers had sworn that the streamlining system is a loophole to get public assistance for higher-income families. Last year’s failed Farm Bill marked a previous attempt at the GOP trying to limit the system, and according to the newly proposed plan, it would save $2.5 billion a year.
“For too long, this loophole has been used to effectively bypass important eligibility guidelines,” Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said, per CNN. “That is why we are changing the rules, preventing abuse of a critical safety net system, so those who need food assistance the most are the only ones who receive it.”
Perdue also pointed out how a millionaire in Minnesota qualified for food stamps via the streamlining option in order to show the faults of the system.
Contrasting Perdue’s thoughts, consumer advocates are saying the system is a need for low-income Americans, and though individuals can have a higher gross income, they still need to meet the disposable income threshold to qualify.
Nonetheless, if the Trump administration’s proposed plan goes into action, millions of Americans would be kicked off SNAP due to stricter limits on broad-based categorical eligibility.