The Biden administration dropped a plan that would make it more difficult for adults without children to get food stamps. Anti-hunger advocates had opposed the proposal introduced by Trump.
If put in place, the restrictions would have denied food assistance benefits to 700,000 people.
Trump Administration Planned To Cut Food Stamps
During the Trump presidency, the former Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture planned to cut food stamps. He justified the decision by stating that the benefits should be "assistance through difficult times, not a way of life."
A federal court, though, blocked the measure calling it "likely unlawful." The judge commented that "a global pandemic poses widespread health risks," making food stamps even more important.
Trump officials had then appealed against the decision. On March 24, however, the USDA withdrew the appeal.
The Pandemic Creates More Hunger
In November, 41.1 million Americans were getting food stamps, or SNAP. This is an increase of 13% since February 2020, before the start of the pandemic.
According to USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack, cutting food stamps would harm the most vulnerable adults. These include people of color, those living in rural areas, and those without a high school degree. He stated:
"The rule would have penalized individuals unable to find consistent income when many low wage jobs have variable hours and limited to no sick leave."
No Cuts On Food Stamps
The rules for food stamps apply to adults without disabilities who do not have anyone depending on them. They can get food benefits for three months over three years unless they have a job.
However, the single states can waiver the policy. The Trump administration wanted to make it more difficult to waiver, leaving as a consequence several hundreds of thousands without benefits.
Ed Bolen from the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities wrote:
"The three-month cutoff penalizes workers for deep flaws in the labor market that the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted and greatly worsened. Taking away food benefits doesn't make it easier for anyone to find a stable job; it just makes people hungrier."
Through the pandemic, the families who do not have enough food reached 9% or about 23 million households. Thanks to this plan being dropped, they can hopefully get the assistance they need.