About 3 million Americans who require Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits — more commonly known as food stamps — will soon be cut off from the program, under new rules announced on Tuesday by the Donald Trump administration Department of Agriculture. The new rules would change eligibility requirements to penalize families that have savings or other assets, ending SNAP benefits for those families if they already receive other types of government assistance, according to a report by The Washington Post.
More than 40 million low-income Americans received food stamp benefits last year, and 43 states grant such benefits to those who already receive other government assistance without requiring any additional eligibility tests, The Post reported. The new rules announced by Trump administration Agriculture Secretary, Sonny Perdue, would end eligibility for approximately 3 million needy Americans, according to Perdue’s announcement made in a conference call with media outlets on July 22.
“This proposal will save money and preserve the integrity of the program,” Perdue said on the call, as quoted by The Daily Beast. “SNAP should be a temporary safety net.”
The Trump administration has attempted to cut food stamp benefits for millions of Americans before, proposing massive cuts to SNAP as part of last year’s Farm Bill — but Congress blocked that effort, as Reuters reported.
The administration first declared its intention to strip food stamp eligibility from millions of Americans last December, when Trump himself announced the plan, claiming it would make “a lot of people very happy.”
While Perdue’s announcement on Tuesday did not specify a financial cutoff point for SNAP eligibility, an earlier Washington Post report said that the new rules were expected to affect Americans who earn more than 130 percent of the poverty level, or $33,475 for a family of four.
But the cost of food stamps is estimated at only about $1.40 per meal, and according to a recent report covered by The Inquisitr, the money is well spent, boosting the United States economy as well as helping low-income Americans feed their families. For every $22,000 in federal money spent providing food stamps, one new job is created, the report said, because that money is quickly pumped back into local economies by people who need to spend it on putting food on the table.
In fact, statistics show that Trump’s own voters are likely to be hardest hit by the food stamp benefit restrictions. Government anti-poverty programs are used most heavily by working-age, white Americans who lack a college degree, as The Atlantic magazine reported — the exact profile of Trump’s voting “base.”
A study by the advocacy group Hunger Free America showed that of the 10 states whose residents receive the highest percentage of food stamp benefits, eight voted for Trump in the 2016 presidential election.