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Food Stamp Proposal Would Cut $4.5 Billion from SNAP Over 5 Years

A new Trump administration proposal would reduce food stamp benefits for low-income families with higher utility bills, cutting benefits for roughly one out of every five households that participate in SNAP. (Pixabay)
A new Trump administration proposal would reduce food stamp benefits for low-income families with higher utility bills, cutting benefits for roughly one out of every five households that participate in SNAP. (Pixabay)
November 21, 2019

DENVER – Time is running out for the public to comment on the Trump administration's third proposal this year for changing the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

The latest move would cut $4.5 billion from the program over five years by changing how states calculate benefits based on utility bills.

More than 7 million low-income Americans are projected to see an average benefit loss of just over $30 a month.

"Losing more than $30 a month is a really big hit to a food budget,” says Anya Rose, public policy manager of the group Hunger Free Colorado. “This is going to mean that more families in Colorado have to choose between, 'Do I pay the utility bills, or do I purchase food for my household?' And no one should have to make that choice."

Rose notes older adults and people with disabilities would be disproportionately impacted, but because of Colorado's rising costs of living, many low-income workers also will be squeezed.

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue says the proposal aims to modernize SNAP and reduce benefit discrepancies among states.

The USDA projects 40% of Colorado families participating in SNAP would see benefit cuts.

Rose says modernizing how benefits are calculated shouldn't lead to lower benefit amounts, when families already are struggling.

In Colorado, SNAP benefits average just $4 a day.

"Any change to the standard utility allowance shouldn't result in Colorado families losing $30 a month of their food benefit,” he states. “If this is the lever, it should serve the statutory purpose of SNAP, which is to protect Americans from hunger."

Previous proposals by the Trump administration for SNAP would change the way states determine eligibility and limit a state's flexibility on work requirements, both of which are projected to result in fewer people being able to get assistance.

Comments on the latest proposal can be registered at HungerFreeColorado.org/comment through Dec. 2.

Disclosure: Hunger Free Colorado contributes to our fund for reporting on Children's Issues, Hunger/Food/Nutrition, Poverty Issues, Senior Issues. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.
Eric Galatas, Public News Service - CO