Trump administration to slash food stamp benefits for 668,000 people

Food stamp benefits slashed for 668,000

WASHINGTON — The Trump administration announced Wednesday that a new rule will tighten the requirements for people who rely on the federal food stamp program.

The rule, which will take effect in April, will affect people between the age of 18 and 49 who do not have children and are not disabled. This group can currently receive only three months of SNAP benefits in a three-year period if they don't meet the 20-hour work requirement. But states with high unemployment rates or a demonstrable lack of sufficient jobs can waive those time limits.

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The new rule imposes stricter criteria states must meet in order to issue waivers. Under the plan, states can only issue waivers if a city or county has an unemployment rate of 6% or higher. The waivers will be good for one year and will require the governor to support the request.

The Agriculture Department estimates the change would save roughly $5.5 billion over five years and cut benefits for roughly 688,000 SNAP recipients. That's down from its original estimate that 750,000 people would lose benefits.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.