700,000 people will lose food stamps with USDA work requirement change

700,000 people will lose food stamps with USDA work requirement change

The Trump administration unveiled a final rule Wednesday that will require more food stamp recipients to work in order to receive benefits.

USDA officials say the rule announced Wednesday would save roughly $5.5 billion over five years.

The administration has finalised a rule that tightens guidelines on when and where states can waive limits on how long certain residents can receive benefits. "We need to encourage people by giving them a helping hand but not allowing it to become an indefinitely giving hand".

"Now, in the midst of the strongest economy in a generation, we need everyone who can work, to work", said Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, citing the low 3.6% national unemployment rate.

"This is an unacceptable escalation of the administration's war on working families, and it comes during a time when too many are forced to stretch already-thin budgets to make ends meet", said US Congressional Representative Marcia Fudge, an Ohio State Democrat.

House Republicans unsuccessfully pushed to include SNAP work requirement provisions in last year's farm bill. He urged better job training and a higher minimum wage instead.

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Over the past year the Agriculture Department has proposed three significant changes to the food stamp program.

"Pay attention. This is what cruelty looks like", tweeted the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights in response to the completed rule, which would be the first of a series of proposed food stamp cuts to take effect.

"For able-bodied adults without dependents, USA law limits SNAP benefits to three months, unless recipients are working or in training for 20 hours a week", the Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday.

The Urban Institute in a study released last month estimated that taken together, the three measures would affect roughly 2.2 million households, and 3.7 million individual beneficiaries. "This is about restoring the original intent of food stamps ... moving more able-bodied Americans to self sufficiency".

But James D. Weill, the president of the Food Research & Action Center, criticized the change.

SNAP isn't the only public benefits program the Trump administration is trying to shrink. "Even if adults are playing by all the rules and looking for work, they will now be much more likely to lose all of their nutritional assistance". The agency is still working on the latter two proposals.

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