SNAP provides a monthly benefit to buy nutritious foods. But most states, including Massachusetts, have been allowed to set the gross income limit higher — in the Commonwealth’s case, at 200 percent of the poverty level. But now some of the poorest Americans stand to suffer if this misguided plan goes forward — and for their sake, it shouldn’t. Food stamps are a lifeline for about one in nine Massachusetts residents. She continued to receive SNAP benefits for three months after her youngest turned 18. There are a lot of cheats out there. The United States Department of Agriculture, which runs the program, is considering changing the way it calculates utility costs and potentially changing recipients’ determined need. In a state with high housing, health care, and energy costs, the higher gross income limit makes a lot of sense, and means more families with a bona fide need for food assistance qualify. “This rule just says to people who are in that predicament, ‘We don’t care that you need a little bit of help finding a good job so that you can move ahead,’” Negus said. How did it get to the point that the Trump administration now seems to be hunting for excuses to deprive low-income families of food benefits — most recently with a mean-spirited plan unveiled Tuesday by the Department of Agriculture to boot 3.1 million people from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program? ). If your able bodied, go to work. Donald Trump inherited the collections of grudges developed during those years, and seems intent on turning each into policy. When they turned 18 and were no longer dependents, she had three months to find more work that would allow her to keep receiving benefits. For starters, it would restrict the ability of states to offer food stamps to recipients who have certain levels of savings or other assets. “Let’s just call this what it is: It is another attempt by the Trump administration to further a false narrative and fictional stereotype about people who are struggling with poverty,” MLRI’s executive director Georgia Katsoulomiti said in a statement. “[The policy change] will make our homeless increase,” Smith said. The rule that was finalized Wednesday takes away a great deal of that flexibility. The free-loader army has grown exponentially in recent years, and the middle class is getting crushed paying for people who do not deserve it. Specifically, the change would force states to change the way they currently calculate utility costs, or Standard Utility Allowances. If the rule passes, Massachusetts could lose up to $102 million in SNAP support each year, according to Boston.com. Then she was cut off. Language barriers, lack of a high school or college degree, lack of training, undiagnosed impairments or disabilities, or living in an area where well-paying jobs are in short supply are just a few more reasons someone could have difficulty finding a steady job, she said. Testing locations Boston Helps. To qualify for food stamps, recipients must have poverty-level, Food stamps are a lifeline for about one in nine Massachusetts residents. The administration characterizes such state policies as loopholes that allow people who don’t really need food stamps to receive them. This isn’t filet mignon money: The subsidies work out to about $1.38 per meal per person, according an. delegation reacts to Barrett's confirmation to the Supreme Court, Barrett will quickly enter the fray of Trump's legal battles – including any over election results, Protests erupt in Philadelphia after police fatally shoot a Black man they say had a knife, 1,000-plus faith leaders call for 'free and fair election', More than 15,000 readers said this candidate won the final presidential debate and how it affected their vote. The administration also wants to restrict the ability of states to enact another common-sense provision. Eligibility is calculated by a variety of financial factors. I am one of the unfortunates. Instead, the Trump administration’s plan would tie the hands of state officials and force them to reduce or eliminate benefits. This new rule limits states’ flexibility in providing those benefits to able-bodied adults with no dependents. The USDA said that about 688,000 people would lose access to food stamps once the change takes place April 1. Though the Trump administration points to low unemployment across the nation as a reason to roll back SNAP, Negus said there are still plenty of people who are don’t have access to a “good, consistent job” for various reasons. Currently, people who fit into that category are allowed to receive SNAP benefits for a maximum of three months during a three-year period. More than a third of the recipients are under the age of 18. This isn’t filet mignon money: The subsidies work out to about $1.38 per meal per person, according an analysis by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Victoria Negus, a policy advocate for the Massachusetts Law Reform Institute, wrote in an email she believes the White House is trying to reduce the amount of aid granted by SNAP. “The Trump Administration is, yet again, trying to take the food off low income households,” Negus wrote. About 36 million American rely on them. The rule changes will cut SNAP by roughly $4.2 billion over five years and directly affect nearly 700,000 able-bodied Americans, according to the Urban Institute.. she believes the White House is trying to reduce the amount of aid granted by SNAP. We are not ignorant for wanting our tax $ spent more efficiently. If they manage to scrape together more than a small amount — as little as $2,250 — they’d lose access to food stamps. A new rule finalized by the Trump administration this week could kick nearly 700,000 adults off of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits, formerly known as food stamps. She said the rule will hit states that have large gig economies, such as Massachusetts, particularly hard, since many of those in the workforce don’t have regular or reliable hours. People who receive food stamps have seen a big boost during the pandemic. Massachusetts residents relying on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program may see their monthly benefits cut in half. Food stamps are a lifeline for about one in nine Massachusetts residents. (If you find any such SNAP recipients, please let us know.). Julie LaFontaine, executive director of The Open Door food pantry in Gloucester, said the organization is bracing for what could happen when the new rule goes into effect. The MLRI fact sheet estimates that around 200,000 homes throughout the state would lose about $50 per month under the new rule. Previously, states had discretion over how to calculate their own SUA, which left room for discrepancies in the amount of financial aid allotted to recipients in different states, according to the USDA. Exceptions to this rule are made for those who are working or enrolled in an education or training program for 80 hours each month. “It impacts the whole Commonwealth by weakening the safety net that people very much need in a crisis situation.”, Minc said implementing the change would create a “climate of fear.”. An estimated one in nine Massachusetts residents receives SNAP benefits, and the average recipient gets $1.38 in assistance per meal. Teach your children the right way. The United States Department of Agriculture, which runs the program, is considering changing the way it calculates utility costs and potentially changing recipients’ … More needs to be done with Mass Health and section 8 also. “She was still working, but it wasn’t enough.”. Massachusetts residents relying on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program may see their monthly benefits cut in half. One in six Gloucester residents already use Open Door’s services, and rolling back federal help will put even more pressure on the pantry. When he left office, former president George W. Bush’s agriculture secretary boasted of the fact that the Bush administration had added 9 million Americans to the rolls of food stamp recipients. Will. “This time by changing the way that utility costs are taken into account in the SNAP math.”. After all, it’s hard to argue with a program that keeps the poorest Americans fed — and the fact that American grocery retailers also benefit from the extra business only cemented its popular appeal. “This manipulation is demonstrated by the fact that currently about half of the [able-bodied adults with no dependents] on SNAP live in waived areas, despite low unemployment levels across the majority of the country,” the new rule states. It’s shameful!!! Charts Her struggle is real, but she does it. Critics of welfare programs sometimes complain that they act as a disincentive to work, but in this case it’s the other way around: Strictly limiting assets, as the administration proposes, would perversely discourage recipients from working more and saving more. November 20, 2019 1:27 am by Amanda Cappelli. “It will make more people go to the food pantries and we already can’t keep up with that.”. I don’t have housing and pay my own utilities. Deaths Catherine Drennan, director of communications and public affairs for the Greater Boston Food Bank, said that the change would affect a large portion of residents. They’re a net positive for the economy: In Massachusetts, for instance, every dollar in SNAP benefits generates an estimated $1.79 in economic activity. “It says, ‘We’re going to take the food off your table, and we’re going to force you to go hungry as you’re trying to figure out what to do next.’ And being hungry doesn’t help people find good jobs.”. New York discourages travel to Massachusetts, Shots fired in Back Bay, no injuries reported, Pfizer CEO all but rules out vaccine before Election Day, N.H. man pranked by sign advertising strip club on his property, University of Maine student accused of voting as roommate, NXIVM sex-cult head Raniere gets 120 years in prison, N.H. woman allegedly accesses state court system, drops charges against herself, Mass. Annmarie Smith, 57, of Downtown Boston, currently works at the Pine Street Inn, a shelter and resource for the city’s homeless population. This includes both earned income (the money you make from jobs) and unearned income (cash assistance, Social Security, unemployment insurance, and child support, etc. After all, it’s hard to argue with a program that keeps the poorest Americans fed — and the fact that American, How did it get to the point that the Trump administration now seems to be hunting for excuses to deprive low-income families of food benefits — most recently with a mean-spirited plan, Food stamps can be used only to pay for staples, and come with a, The administration also wants to restrict the ability of states to enact another common-sense provision. Gloucester received a waiver for the time limit in 2016 and 2017 due to high unemployment rates, but LaFontaine said she’s worried the city wouldn’t be granted the same waiver during a future economic downturn. But those increased benefits ran out in June. The reality is that a strict savings limit would only punish poor families for acting responsibly. Then you have ignorant people who are happy they are cutting food to the needy.