Nonprofits Worried About New SNAP Rules
Thousands of Minnesotans could lose their SNAP benefits under new work rules put in place by the Trump administration. The Minnesota Department of Human Services estimates 8,000 Minnesotans will lose benefits from the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program, also known as SNAP. The rule change takes effect in April. Two other proposals could affect some people more than others.
New Rule Change
The new rule finalized by the U.S Department of Agriculture in December tightens work requirements for SNAP recipients who are non-disabled adults without dependents. The change doesn’t affect children and their parents, people over 50, people with disabilities, or pregnant women.
“There’s reasons why they aren’t able to find work, or perhaps they have medical issues, or they have other issues going on in their life,” said Lisa Bayley, Acting Assistant Commissioner of Children and Family Services.
To qualify for SNAP benefits, caseworkers, look at how much income a person makes to determine eligibility. They then deduct the number of money recipients spends on utility payments. However, under a proposed rule, Minnesotans will have the same utility deduction as everyone else across the country.
“That’s just not fair,” said Bayley. “We know that Minnesotans spend more on fuel costs than other states.”
Proposed Changes To SNAP Broad-Based Requirements
And there could be a change coming for broad-based eligibility requirements. On July 23rd, the Trump administration issued a proposed regulation to terminate the policy through executive action. Some Minnesota officials say this will have a devastating impact on families.
“It will exclude some people from receiving any benefits, and it will reduce the amount of money other people receive,” said Bayley. “This is a direct hit to people’s pockets and that money is used exclusively for food.”
Local food shelves that help people make ends meet will also feel the pinch. “We’re very worried,” said CEAP Executive Director Clare Brumback.
About 400 families a week use the CEAP (Community Emergency Assistance Programs) food shelf. With cuts looming on the federal food stamp program, officials say that number will likely go up.
“This is going to increase the need. There’s no doubt. How much? We’ll find out,” said Brumback.
The Minnesota Department of Human Services wants to make sure people know the changes are coming, so they can plan for it.