The USDA proposed Monday eliminating a loophole in food stamp eligibility requirements that will cut 3.1 million people from the program and save $2.5 billion.
Those who receive temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) will not longer be automatically eligible to get food stamps through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) if the rule is enacted, according to the USDA.
“Some states are taking advantage of loopholes that allow people to receive the SNAP benefits who would otherwise not qualify and for which they are not entitled,” said USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue, according to Reuters.
The USDA wants to change the current rule in 43 states that make TANF recipients automatically eligible for SNAP benefits. Instead, TANF recipients must apply for SNAP and submit to a review of their assets and income to determine if they are qualified.
The new rule may is expected to result in removing 3.1 million from the program, according to the USDA.
It will also result in a cost savings of $2.5 billion, the agency said. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates the change could save the federal government $8.1 over the next ten years.
Trump tried to rein in the SNAP program last year through language in the Farm Bill, but it was blocked by Congress. Changes to SNAP eligibility do not, however, require any Congressional approval according to Brandon Lipps, USDA acting deputy undersecretary.
Currently, 12% of the U.S. population, or about 40 million Americans, are enrolled in the SNAP program. Recipient eligibility is only reviewed every two years, Lipps said.
The USDA is required to open the proposed rule to public comment before enacting.
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