WASHINGTON, D.C. (DRG News) – The U.S. Agriculture Department is proposing a new rule to close an automatic eligibility loophole within the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.
U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue says the change will strengthen the SNAP program.
Under the proposed rule, Perdue says eligibility would be limited to households receiving substantial, ongoing TANF-funded benefits aimed at helping families move towards self-sufficiency.
Acting Deputy Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services Brandon Lipps the proposal would make eligibility requirements for SNAP the same in every state.
Lipps says the change does not require approval from Congress.
Because of the current loophole, a millionaire living in Minnesota successfully enrolled in the SNAP program simply to highlight the waste of taxpayer money. Perdue says this proposed change gives USDA the ability to save billions of dollars, ensuring nutrition assistance programs are delivered with consistency to those in need.
Opponents to the change say it will increase hunger and hardship for close to 2 million Americans and would jeopardize access to free school meals for more than 500,000 low-income children. They says Congress rejected the proposal when it passed the 2018 Farm Bill.
USDA encourages all interested parties to provide input on the proposed rule through www.regulations.gov. The comment period will be open for 60 days.
To learn more about this proposed rule, view this fact sheet.