• Clutch Your Pearls! Government Taking Steps to Shrink Food Stamp Cheating

    Surge Summary: The Federal Government is taking steps to tighten up food stamp eligibility requirements and curb abuse of the program; Democrats are opposing the attempt. 

    People routinely carp that the Federal Government is just too big, that it costs too much.

    Well, if they really believe that, something’s gotta give …

    The Associated Press’s Carole Feldman reports …Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

    About 3.1 million people would lose food stamp benefits under the Trump administration’s proposal to tighten automatic eligibility requirements for the food stamp program.

    According to the Agriculture Department Tuesday, it’s all about closing “a loophole” that enables people who’ve been receiving only minimal benefits from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program (TANF) to be eligible automatically for food stamps without submitting themselves to further checks on their income or assets.

    “For too long, this loophole has been used to effectively bypass important eligibility guidelines. Too often, states have misused this flexibility without restraint,” Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said in a statement.

    The proposed change is the Trump administration’s latest to cut back on the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program or SNAP, as the food stamp program is officially known. The effort has also proposed to tighten work requirements for those who are receiving the federal food assistance.

    USDA estimates that 1.7 million households — 3.1 million people — “will not otherwise meet SNAP’s income and asset eligibility prerequisites under the proposed rule.” That would result in a net savings of about $9.4 billion over five years.

    Congressional Democrats aren’t pleased, promptly condemning the proposal.

    House Speaker Nancy Pelsoi said it was “the administration’s latest act of staggering callousness” while Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said he would “fight to make sure these cuts never become a reality.”

    Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., said the administration was trying anew to circumvent Congress and that the effect would be to “take food away from families, prevent children from getting school meals, and make it harder for states to administer food assistance.”

    As recently as during the farm bill debate in 2018, the lawmaking body has rejected previous attempts to change the expanded automatic eligibility provisions,

    Robert Greenstein, president of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, warns, “The proposed rule would weaken SNAP’s role in supporting work while making it harder for families that struggle to get by on low wages to meet their basic needs.”

    About 36 million people participated in SNAP in April 2019, down from more than 38 million a year earlier.

    The USDA says 43 states have been abusing the law so that those who “barely participate” in TANF automatically qualify for SNAP assistance.

    The practical and pricey problem?

    [P]eople receiving food stamps who don’t need it and wouldn’t qualify under regular program rules.

    Conceivably millions of them.

    Under the new proposal, before qualifying automatically for SNAP benefits individuals would have to receive at least $50 a month in TANF benefits over a six-month minimum.

    Perdue said the change is necessary for “preventing abuse of a critical safety net system so those who need food assistance the most are the only ones who receive it.”

    The rule, expected to be published in the Federal Register on Wednesday, is open for public comment for 60 days.

    Can you hear the collective gasp across the country? Some tightening of accountability in a Federal program? Because it is suspected of being abused by a not insignificant number of its recipients? Have you ever …?!?

    Hey, the fact is any government service provided – by definition – from tax-payer coffers should expect to undergo fresh and repeated and exacting scrutiny.

    The monies of tax-paying Americans are a sacred charge. They need to be treated as such by our popularly chosen and appointed leaders. If some of those benefitting from these monies need to occasionally endure a little additional inconvenience, to satisfy some additional governmental strictures? I suppose, that’s just the way it’s gotta be.

    Image: Image by Steve Buissinne from Pixabay 

    Trending Now on Daily Surge

    Send this to a friend