Thursday, April 16, 2020

Food stamp work rule amid pandemic and ability to get food in doubt

For the most vulnerable among Americans, being able to get food should be the least of their problems.

Governors plead for food stamp flexibility amid pandemic

Associated Press
April 6, 2020

There are only a handful of states in the country where food aid recipients can buy groceries online

PHOENIX -- Yvonne Knight, who has respiratory problems that make her especially vulnerable in the coronavirus pandemic, can't buy groceries online with her food stamps — even though each trip to the store is now a risky endeavor.

Going out to buy food terrifies the 38-year-old woman with cerebral palsy, but she is one of millions of people who receive food aid through the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program that can't be used in flexible ways.
The increased need for food aid and calls to make it more flexible come directly on the heels of a stalled Trump administration attempt to purge an estimated 700,000 people from SNAP rolls. The changes would have taken away states' ability to waive a rule that able-bodied adults without dependents show a certain number of hours worked per month. A court blocked the changes, and the USDA vowed to appeal.
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Trump administration delays new food stamp work rule amid pandemic

NBC 3 News
by Alexis Goree
April 13th 2020

LAS VEGAS (KSNV) — Before the coronavirus pandemic, thousands of Nevadans were at risk of losing their food stamps starting this month.

Now, because of the national emergency, the Trump administration is holding off on any change.

Unemployment numbers have now skyrocketed across the United States. The coronavirus forced the closure of non-essential businesses in an effort to stop the spread.

“Now, obviously given what unemployment has done, we cannot reasonably expect folks to engage in work or work-related activity now,“ said Julie Balderson with Nevada Department of Health and Human Services.

Due to the national emergency, the White House is now delaying their pursuit of a new work rule for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program recipients, also know and SNAP.
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But the truth is, a Federal Judge had to order it first.

Federal judge blocks Trump rule that could have cut food stamps for nearly 700,000 people amid coronavirus

By Veronica Stracqualursi and Tami Luhby
March 14, 2020

(CNN)A federal judge has temporarily blocked a Trump administration federal rule from going into effect next month that could have seen nearly 700,000 people lose access to food stamps, noting in part a need for flexibility as state and federal officials work to address nutritional needs during the coronavirus pandemic.
"Especially now, as a global pandemic poses widespread health risks, guaranteeing that government officials at both the federal and state levels have flexibility to address the nutritional needs of residents and ensure their well-being through programs like SNAP, is essential," Chief Judge Beryl Howell of the US District Court in Washington, DC, wrote as part of her opinion issued Friday.

In an order handed down Friday, the Howell granted a preliminary injunction and a stay on portions of a federal rule from the US Department of Agriculture. The rule, announced in December, would require more food stamp recipients to work in order to receive benefits by limiting states' ability to waive existing work mandates.
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