The Washington Post reports the Trump administration has made major changes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). According to reports right now roughly 36 million Americans receive monthly benefits from the vital meal program, better known as food stamps. Believe it or not, since 2013 the number of people using SNAP has been on a steady decline. Five years ago the total of Americans receiving food stamps was more the 47 million! New regulations will take affect April 1,2020.

Reportedly the initial changes will zero in on one specific group receiving SNAP benefits. They are supposedly only targeting able-bodied adults (18 through 49) without dependents or disabilities. According to 2016 statistics this group of people accounted for 3.8 million of  40 million getting SNAP at the time. Under the current law these individuals receive food stamps if they qualify for the following criteria -

1.) Recipients must be working or enrolled in school/training program for at least 80 hours.

2.) They can't receive food stamps for more than three months, in a three-year period.

In the past states had an option to give out waivers and extend benefits if people in this group needed additional services under two conditions:

1.) If their unemployment rate was more than 10%

2.) There was a lack of sufficient jobs.

With the new changes, states will no longer have this option. On Wednesday (December 5, 2019) the Trump administration finalized a rule that will tighten what they're calling "work requirements," even further. The Agriculture Secretary, Sonny Perdue, explained “Long-term reliance on government assistance has never been part of the American dream,” He continued. “Moving people to work is common-sense policy, particularly at a time when the unemployment rate is at a generational low.” By the way, this overhaul is the first of three new regulations coming to the SNAP program. More MAJOR changes on the way. in his effort to limit access to the federal food safety net.

The USDA estimated more than 600,000 individuals will be dropped in this first phase as the proposal takes effect. According to New York Times the President found a way to bypass Congress, who fiercely rejected his efforts to limit millions of Americans access to the federal food safety net. Analysts said the new changes will ultimately bring Americans already living below the poverty line to their knees.

Perdue gloated over the low unemployment rates, and the it's true, the national unemployment rate is low. Having work isn't the problem, it's the rate of pay versus the cost of living. Yet the same Senate that passed these new SNAP regulations, has refused to pass the Raise The Wage Act. Passing the Wage Act would boost the pay for more than 70 million American workers. By raising the national minimum wage average from $7.25 to $15.00 an hour, analyst projected 1.3 million families would be lifted out of poverty and would no longer need the food program.

Sure, there are some able-bodied people milking the system. That is truly unfortunate. If this was a way to single them out, that would be great. Everyone needs to pull their weight. However, there are 2 more phases to come and they will affect millions more to include free meals for children, the disabled and elderly. This group of people can't work. Taking food programs away from people who already have nothing, isn't the answer.

It's not a matter of people not wanting to go to work. It's a matter of people not making enough money on their jobs. Americans are struggling to pay all the bills and keep food on the table. On top of low wages, rent is rising across the nation and forcing people into homelessness. The fact is, salaries aren't keeping up with the cost of living. The last time the national minimum wage was raised was in 2009. It went from $6.55 per hour to the current wage of $7.25. Meanwhile as inflation  continues to go up, the only people getting tax cuts are the rich!

For more details about the Trump administrations new regulations on food stamps click, HERE.

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