Solutions Blog

Trump admin’s ongoing attack on SNAP

SNAP is under attack — (again) again.

Three times in the last year, the Trump administration has proposed rule changes that would impact millions SNAP participants across the country (and tens of thousands here in Minnesota). Thanks to our persistent actions against proposed rule changes, we have successfully delayed attacks on categorical eligibility and public charge. Now, we gear up to fight changes to the utility allowance.

Utility allowance rule

The administration is now proposing to standardize and cap the Standard Utility Allowance (SUA) calculations across the country.  This rule would cause 19% of SNAP households to get lower SNAP monthly benefits, and cut $4.5 billion in SNAP benefits over five years.  Minnesota would be one of the states hardest hit, disproportionately impacting the elderly and people with disabilities.  More than 32% of households would see a cut.

This rule would only exacerbate the struggles many low-income Minnesotans face when paying for both food and utilities and is the wrong way to go about this.

We need your help once again!  Submit your comments before December 2.

Categorical eligibility

In July, the administration proposed rule changes that would limit the ability of states to use “broad-based categorical eligibility” to streamline benefits. In Minnesota, categorical eligibility allows us to increase the income limit for SNAP from 130% to 165% FPL and eliminate the asset test. In their analysis of the impact of these proposed changes, the USDA neglected to include the impact categorical eligibility has on school meal eligibility. School children automatically qualify for free school meals if their household uses SNAP. Taking away categorical eligibility means as many as one million children would no long automatically qualify for free school breakfasts or lunches. 

The USDA has now re-opened the comment period to solicit comments about the impact on school meals. Submit your comments before November 1. (Note: comments must be about the relationship between SNAP and school meals in order to be considered “germane” or relevant to this issue.)

Public charge

Earlier this month, courts in Washington state, New York, and California all ruled against the Trump administration’s proposed public charge rule, issuing a preliminary injunction preventing it from going into effect. Minnesota was part of a group of states in the Washington case. 

The proposed change in the public rule would expand the list of public benefits that can be used to determine if an immigrant would likely become a “public charge” when they apply to adjust their immigration status.

While the rule has been delayed by the courts, there is still a lot of confusion as to what it means for immigrants. DHS has a fact sheet that explains what  the rule change means. (Note: this was published before the date the rule was set to go into effect.) Our friends at Southern Minnesota Regional Legal Services presented on what public charge is an who it impacts at a recent Ramsey County SNAP Outreach meeting (You can watch the recording here).

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