Oh Snap! Trump's new plan could kick more than 3 million people off food stamps
A new proposal by the Trump administration could result in a rule that would limit people's access to food stamps and possible remove more than 3 million people from the program. It would also remove the ability for automatic enrollment for low income families who are currently receiving welfare benefits.
As stated on CBS News, "the rule would erase what U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue called a "loophole" in welfare benefits. Currently, 43 states allow families who qualify for the federal Temporary Assistance to Needy Families program, or TANF, to automatically receive food-stamp benefits, a link that the USDA wants to sever. Ending that practice would cut food-stamp spending by $2.5 billion per year, the Reuters news agency reported.
While income limits for TANF programs vary by state, the welfare program typically is restricted to low-income families. For instance, Georgia requires a family of three to earn less than $784 per month, or $9,408 per year, and have less than $1,000 in assets."
So basically, it's going to close a loophole, save billions, and probably face backlash from people who are on it who truly need it.
CBS News report mentions that numerous policy experts call the food-stamp program a success in terms of anti-poverty. However, people on the Republican side want reduce spending on it. This is likely because there are people who abuse the program. For example, I once saw a woman walk into a deli with a fresh tattoo covering her bicep. That tattoo cost at least $100. She used an EBT card to buy junk food at the deli. While we cannot dictate what people spend their money on, but one has to wonder if she should have spent her money on real food and not tattoos.
As the report continued, it quoted Perdue saying "for too long, this loophole has been used to effectively bypass important eligibility guidelines. Too often, states have misused this flexibility without restraint."
Ben Olinsky had a different view.
"This rule would disproportionately hurt families with children, seniors, and disabled people," Ben Olinsky, senior vice president of Policy and Strategy at the left-leaning Center for American Progress, said in an emailed statement. "The 43 states that use broad-based categorical eligibility would have to change their eligibility rules, modify their computer systems, and retrain staff, placing an undue burden on state governments and making it more difficult for recipients and applicants to navigate the program."
No matter which way you look at this, there are people who need benefits and there are people who abuse benefits.
The solution is not to cut people off right away, but to do more investigative work to see who is really in need and to take care of them, while also identifying those who abuse the system and simply won't get a job - and cut them off.
It's not a simple fix, nor will it be fixed fast - but common sense should prevail if people want things done the right way.