Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY) criticized the Trump administration’s new rules tightening requirements for food stamps, claiming she and her family may have starved had they been in place when her father died.
“My family relied on food stamps (EBT) when my dad died at 48. I was a student. If this happened then, we might’ve just starved,” she wrote on Twitter. “Now, many people will. It’s shameful how the GOP works overtime to create freebies for the rich while dissolving lifelines of those who need it most.”
Ocasio-Cortez was responding to a breaking news tweet from NBC that said work requirements for food stamp recipients had been finalized, which would cause hundreds of thousands of people to lose access.
The Heritage Foundation quickly stepped in with a fact check, however, informing the New York Democrat it likely wouldn’t have affected her family.
The rule applies to able-bodied adults between the ages of 18 and 49 who do not have dependents.— Heritage Foundation (@Heritage) December 6, 2019
The rule wouldn’t apply to parents with minor children, the elderly, or disabled people.
“The rule applies to able-bodied adults between the ages of 18 and 49 who do not have dependents,” the think tank responded. “The rule wouldn’t apply to parents with minor children, the elderly, or disabled people.”
According to Fox News, given that Ocasio-Cortez was 19 and in college at the time of her father's death, her mother would have probably still claimed her as a dependent.
Others made a similar case.
I too once relied on food stamps bc I needed heart surgery as a kid. They are referring to men and women without children will have to work or volunteer 20hrs a week every three months. you could have done that with your hands tied behind your back. Been there, done that— BeyondThePale (@TweetyDahine) December 6, 2019
Now do Bill Clinton’s welfare reform before you time ?????? pic.twitter.com/Pz2VN8hPJv— Ex-Dem????Latina (@ExDemLatina) December 6, 2019
You're purposely misrepresenting this. It is an attempt to pull back on government waste and those that are unnecessarily abusing the program. Everyone wants some safety nets to help people get back on their feet.— Skipp Phipps (@Skippphipps) December 6, 2019
SNAP feeds more than 36 million people. Under current rules, work-eligible able-bodied adults without dependents and between the ages of 18 and 49 can receive only three months of SNAP benefits in a three-year period if they don’t meet the 20-hour work requirement.
The new rule, which will take effect on April 1, 2020, imposes stricter criteria for states to 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 percent or higher. The waivers will be good for one year and will require the governor to support the request.
The USDA estimates the change would save roughly $5.5 billion over five years and cut benefits for roughly 688,000 SNAP recipients. (Fox News)
Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said the rule will help people become self-reliant.
“We’re taking action to reform our SNAP program in order to restore the dignity of work to a sizable segment of our population and be respectful of the taxpayers who fund the program,” Perdue told reporters Wednesday. “Americans are generous people who believe it is their responsibility to help their fellow citizens when they encounter a difficult stretch. That’s the commitment behind SNAP, but, like other welfare programs, it was never intended to be a way of life.”