Back in October, I wrote about the potential for millions of children losing free and reduced school meal privileges. I noted there was an open comment period through November. I wanted to give an update with good news for our kids.
A new food stamps/SNAP rule are soon going to be a reality. Good news, children are safe..so far. I say this because there still may be some add-ons to one new rule going into effect in April.
According to the USDA, the new laws do not affect children and their parents, those over 50 years old, those with a disability or pregnant women
According to the latest estimates, about 700,000 Americans will lose their access to food stamps under new rules formalized by the Trump administration, the Department of Agriculture announced Wednesday. The rule would tighten work requirements for able-bodied adults with no dependents. The able-bodied adults without dependents can receive SNAP benefits for a maximum of three months during a three-year period, unless they’re working or enrolled in an education or training program for 80 hours a month.
If the economy were to take a downturn and unemployment were to reach six percent where a recipient lived, the county would receive a waiver. There has been debate about how easy it will be for persons and counties to qualify for these waivers.
Eligibility determination will be under federal control. A spokesman said that while “Americans are generous people who believe it is their responsibility to help their fellow citizens when they encounter a difficult stretch. That’s the commitment behind SNAP, but, like other welfare programs, it was never intended to be a way of life.” This has come under fire from those who claim the new rule ‘would worsen hunger in this country, and would do nothing to help increase stable, long-term employment or move individuals to self-sufficiency.’
It is also a way of stopping those who abuse the system and buy everything from lottery tickets to alcohol with their benefits instead of diapers and meals. Until some type of complete auditing system is put into place and these items raise a flag on an account this will continue to occur.
Now, on the good side, 700,000 is a lot less than previous numbers of between a million to 2.5 million who would be affected by the changes in the laws had they been in effect last year.
There are still concerns on other potential changes that would affect children. Two other proposed rule changes, not yet final, aim to cap deductions for utility allowance and to limit access to SNAP for working poor families.
The result of these proposals would cut 3.7 million people from SNAP in an average month. Millions more would experience reductions in monthly benefits and 982,000 students would lose automatic access to free or reduced-price school meals.
I would not count on anything happening on these during an election year. In fact, an amendment to further restrict states’ ability to provide geographic waivers for able-bodied adults without dependents (ABAWD) participation in SNAP was rejected by the House of Representatives by a vote of 83-330. A similar amendment proposed in the Senate was rejected (tabled) by a bipartisan vote of 68-30. Still, expansion of the program
However, I will keep you posted.