Almost 700,000 people could lose food stamps under Trump administration’s new rule

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(WNCT) A new rule under the Trump Administration is tightening work requirements for some people who receive food stamps.

This change is expected to end the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits for 688,000 adults in the US.

The new rule makes it more difficult for states to waive a requirement that able-bodied adults without children work at least 20 hours a week or else lose their benefits, according to NPR.

The Trump Administration says the change will encourage those receiving food stamps (SNAP) to get jobs, but anti-hunger advocates are worried, saying it will hurt low-income families or individuals who can’t find steady work.

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said in a press release,

“We need to encourage people by giving them a helping hand, but not allowing it to become an infinitely giving hand, now, in the midst of the strongest economy in a generation, we need everyone who can work, to work.”

Sunny Perdue

The new Trump Admin. rule impacts adults who can work between the ages of 18 and 49 without any dependents.

There were nearly 4 million such adults receiving food stamps in 2016, about three-quarters of whom did not work, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Some estimates say the changes could save nearly $5 billion over 5 years.

“The rule restores the system to what Congress intended: assistance through difficult times, not a way of life,” Perdue said.

The new rule will take effect on April 1, 2020.

Opposition to the change is strong, and legal challenges are possible, according to NPR.

Here at home, Pitt County DSS director Jan Elliott said in a statement,

“North Carolina does not at this point have the waiver for Able Bodied Adults, so there will be no impact with the April change.  Pitt County underwent this transition about three years ago.  It could affect future waiver requests as it appears the threshold to get a waiver will be higher.” 

Jan Elliott

Kelly Haight with the NC Dept. of Health and Human Services says the new USDA rules will not change North Carolina Food and Nutrition benefits.

She said, on Dec. 4, 2019 the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) issued a new rule for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). This new rule does not apply to North Carolina and does not impact who receives SNAP benefits in the state.

The new rule only applies to states that have a waiver or apply for one in the future.

North Carolina does not have a waiver nor is it allowed to apply for one.

In 2015, the General Assembly enacted legislation (Session Law 2015-294) prohibiting the state from seeking a waiver to reduce to work requirements.

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