WASHINGTON (CBS Local) — Millions of Americans face the possibility of losing access to food assistance under proposed rule changes by the Trump administration, according to a new study.
The changes, if they had been instituted last year, would have resulted in 3.7 million fewer people receiving the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, known as SNAP or food stamps, during an average month, according to a report by the not-for-profit Urban Institute.
In addition, over two million households would have lost their food stamps, millions of others would have seen a reduction in their benefits and nearly a million students would have lost their automatic free or discounted school meals.
“SNAP is related to hunger and getting people the nutrition they need. Food shouldn’t be a luxury.”https://t.co/oj0szwQVDW
— Salon (@Salon) December 3, 2019
Benefits would fall by more than 5 percent in 12 states under the new rules, with Vermont, New York, South Dakota, and Maine hit the hardest.
In some states, including Mississippi, Alabama, and Arizona, benefits would increase.
The proposals “will save money and preserve the integrity of the program,” U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue told The Washington Post in July.
Although it’s not clear when the proposed rule changes would go into effect, the government has received 170,000 public comments, most of them negative.
In addition, a group of more than 70 U.S. mayors condemned the proposed changes in a letter warning that 80 percent of SNAP households include a child, a person with disabilities, or an elderly person and that these cuts would also “harm local and regional economies.”