The Trump administration on Tuesday released a proposed rule change that would significantly impact more than 3 million food stamp recipients. Under the new rule, states would no longer be allowed to automatically enroll people into the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) program if they're already receiving benefits from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program.
As it currently stands, 43 states participate in automatic enrollment, something the Trump administration feels allows people to take advantage of welfare benefits.
“We are changing the rules, preventing abuse of a critical safety net system, so those who need food assistance the most are the only ones who receive it,” Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue told TIME Magazine.
Perdue used the recent example of a millionaire in Minnesota who successfully signed up for food stamps, despite clearly not needing the financial help, CNN reported.
“Unfortunately, automatic eligibility has expanded to allow even millionaires and others who simply receive a TANF-funded brochure to become eligible for SNAP when they clearly don’t need it,” said Brandon Lipps, a USDA acting deputy undersecretary.
Lipps said people currently receive thousands of dollars of benefits for a two-year period without going through robust eligibility requirements.
“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,” USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue told CNBC.
The Congressional Budget Office said the proposed rule change could save taxpayers $8.1 billion between 2019 to 2028. The USDA, however, believes taxpayers would save $2.5 billion per year.
The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities estimates that 42 million people, or roughly 13 percent of Americans, relied on food stamps in 2017.