Monday, October 19, 2020

Federal judge blocks plan to cut food stamps for jobless

"A federal judge on Sunday formally struck down a Trump administration attempt to end food-stamp benefits for nearly 700,000 unemployed people, blocking as 'arbitrary and capricious' the first of three such planned measures to restrict the federal food safety net," reports The Washington Post.

"In a scathing 67-page opinion, Chief U.S. District Judge Beryl A. Howell of D.C. condemned the Agriculture Department for failing to justify or even address the impact of the sweeping change on states, saying its shortcomings had been placed in stark relief amid the coronavirus pandemic, during which unemployment has quadrupled and rosters of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program have grown by more than 17 percent, with more than 6 million new enrollees," Spencer Hsu reports.

The administration's proposed change would likely disproportionately affect rural residents, who are more likely to rely on benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly called food stamps. In 2018, 85 of the 100 counties that relied most on SNAP were rural. It's not an exact metric for hunger, but suggests that need for food assistance is disproportionately rural.

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