3.7 Million Americans Will Lose Food Stamps Under New Trump Administration Rules

by Julie Scagell
Dennis M. Rivera Pichardo/Getty

Trump is proposing three major changes that will impact millions that depend on SNAP aka food stamps

The Trump administration wants to cut programming that provides aid to feed Americans. In fact, four million people could lose access to food assistance under proposed changes to the SNAP program by the Trump administration.

The not-for-profit research organization Urban Institute reported that three planned changes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), also known as Food Stamps, will “significantly alter” food-based aid provided to poor Americans. Currently, SNAP is used by more than 40 million Americans to feed their families, which is about 12 percent of the U.S. population. Additionally, just over two million households would see their average monthly benefits drop by $127, more than three million more would see an average drop of $37 per month, and 982,000 students would lose access to free or reduced school lunches.

The Trump administration’s proposed new rules for SNAP would impact eligibility for the program by creating stricter work requirements, cap deductions for utility allowances, and would change automatic enrollment for families if they receive other federal aid. The way the program is set up today, a person who receives benefits from any federal or assistance program like Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) would automatically be enrolled in SNAP.

Trump is proposing an end to that automation and wants to make TANF benefit recipients go through the process of submitting their income to determine if they are actually eligible. If the proposed changes go into effect, benefits would be cut in most states, and states like Vermont, New York, Nevada, and Connecticut would fare even worse.

In August, 70 mayors wrote to the administration, indicating their opposition to the proposed revision. The letter said the proposed cuts “will escalate food insecurity and hunger for an estimated 3.1 million individuals — including children, seniors, and people with disabilities in our states, regions and cities nationwide.”

Agricultural and consumer economics professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Craig Gundersen, said that the current food stamp assistance program not only helps Americans, but even with the help around 50 percent of recipients are finding it hard to put food on the table and feed their families. “The essential goal of the program is to mitigate hunger and its consequences in the United States,” he told NBC News. “Anything that impedes SNAP of doing that is very problematic as it leads to food insecurity in our country.”

Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue defended the changes, saying in part, “At USDA, our informal motto is ‘Do Right and Feed Everyone.’ With these proposed improvements, we will ‘do right’ by the taxpayers and restore the dignity of work to the able-bodied who receive SNAP benefits. And, we will ‘feed everyone’ by ensuring the health and stability of SNAP for those who truly need it.”