FOOD STAMP CUTS AFFECT HALF A BILLION PEOPLE

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People across the nation depend on monthly SNAP, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, food stamps to purchase their basic necessities. This group of people may need to find another source of income after December 4, 2019. On this date, the Trump administration met to discuss changes to the requirements for food stamps that will be set to start April 1 2020. These changes will affect almost 700,000 people and their families as well as approximately 500,000 students who would not be eligible for free/reduced lunch.

The differences in qualifications means that adults 18 to 49 who do not have a disability could have reduced help or completely lose access to food stamps. The Trump administration, after stating the new changes, declared that these new requirements will encourage work amongst the American people, but this may not be true in areas with lack of opportunities.

The rules for SNAP benefits as of December 2019 state that to receive food stamps, your household income must be at or below 130% of the poverty line which varies between size of families. Able-bodied Adults without dependents (ABAWD) ages 18-49 are limited to three months of food stamps unless they are fulfilling the working twenty hours a week qualification. Although, many states waive this due to high unemployment rates. The changes that will take effect on April 1 will put stricter regulations on whether or not states can omit those work requirements.

People who are not considered to be ABAWDs, either are disabled, or caretakers. Many people who are ABAWDs  have children that they do not claim on taxes or they do not qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance, these people who are technically ABAWDs still have the same financial burden as those who will still qualify for SNAP. These caretakers who depend on SNAP, according to the size of household, still may not receive enough money even while working. This can result in a situation like Kollie and John Spinola’s. Their rent almost doubled, causing them to have to move into their car with their two children. The stress caused Kollie to go on medical leave meaning their family had to survive on a single paycheck. SNAP food services greatly helped the family in their time of need. John Spinola stated in regards to the newest changes for SNAP that “doing anything to the SNAP, [means] you’re going to make the poor more poor.”

Many people depend on the money that SNAP brings in each month. People needing the benefits of SNAP can be traced back to 1936. The Food Stamp Act established in 1964 established a permanent program such as the one we know today. Some things have changed since this time period. For example, in 1996 where the work requirements were created as stated above. However, these new changes are not something everyone agrees upon due to the amount of people this will affect. For instance, Congress rejected similar cuts in 2018, and Trump had this most recent change passed through by going around the legislative process. Trump went directly to administration changes which will cut unemployed people directly.

Sources: NBC, Times, The Atlantic, data.gov