A group of 14 states, the District of Columbia and New York City is suing to block the federal government from implementing a rule that would restrict food stamp access for nearly 700,000 unemployed people nationally.
The rule, which was approved last month, would limit states’ abilities to allow able-bodied adults without children to bypass work requirements for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. Normally, this population can only receive three months of benefits over the course of three years unless they work, volunteer or participate in job training for at least 80 hours a month. Waivers have allowed these requirements to be loosened in areas with high unemployment. But the Trump administration’s rule – which is set to go into effect in April – would lower the unemployment rate needed to qualify for the waivers.
At least 107,000 food stamp recipients in New York could lose access under this rule, according to Hunger Solutions New York. And in New York City, about 70,000 people may see those benefits withheld.
“Denying access to vital SNAP benefits would only push hundreds of thousands of already vulnerable Americans into greater economic uncertainty,” New York state Attorney General Letitia James said in a statement.
This is just one of several efforts the Trump administration has been taking against the SNAP program. If this case is any indication, those proposals are likely to face serious backlash in the coming months as well.