Elderly to Lose Food Stamps
A new policy introduced by the Trump administration threatens to remove food stamp benefits from some of society’s most vulnerable members, notably disadvantaged families and seniors living on fixed incomes. The proposed rule changes will make it harder for recipients of the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), also known as food stamps, to qualify for help to feed themselves and their families. Approximately 3.6 million individuals will lose federal aid, which is distributed by the states.
What is SNAP?
SNAP is a public assistance program that uses means-based qualification criteria to ensure that people living in poverty have enough food to eat. The program, which has been in effect since 1964, currently helps feed 37 million Americans. The Center for Budget and Policy estimates that each person enrolled receives about $1.39 per meal, which works out to approximately $127 per month.
Why the Change?
The proposal was presented by the administration under the auspices of making the states more accountable for who receives aid through the national nutrition safeguard program. The policy recommendation involves a change to broad-based categorical eligibility. The new standards tweak entitlement calculations that effectively invalidate the needs of millions living at or below the poverty line. The new rules raise the threshold on income and total assets to lock out would-be SNAP recipients who make above $16,000 per year for a single person, or who have more than $2,250 to their name.
Who Will be Affected?
Policy research institute, Mathmatica, using the same statistical data cited in the policy proposal, estimated that about 3.6 million people currently receiving nutrition assistance will no longer be eligible for benefits. The change will affect 1.9 million households in 42 states and territories; nearly one out of 10 homes who have come to depend on the program.
Approximately 790,000 households at risk of losing SNAP aid are already living in poverty. The elderly and the disabled are likely to be hit hard by the strict eligibility rules. Of the overall 1.9 million households set to lose benefits, 194,000 support at least one person with a disability. The proposed modification to the federal nutrition aid also calls for states to cease the practice of automatically enrolling children of SNAP-recipient families in free lunch programs at their local schools, a move that affects a half-million students.
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Times change, and despite long-term intentions, safety net policies are not guaranteed to be available when they are most needed. The Brooklyn elder law attorneys at Korsinsky & Klein, LLP can help you with all aspects of elder law. We can guide you with forethought and prudence in estate planning. Contact us online or call us at 212-495-8133 for an initial consultation. Located in Brooklyn, New York, and Lakewood, New Jersey, we serve clients throughout Manhattan, Long Island, and Westchester, New York.