Recent Changes to the Food Stamps Program

Whenever new food stamp changes take effect, millions of low-income participants need to change the ways they shop for and feed their families nutritious food they will all love to eat.

For instance, possible food stamps law changes under the Trump administration could limit the types of foods and beverages that beneficiaries are able to purchase with their  . Instead of using an EBT card to select their own foods, many beneficiaries would receive a pre-filled “USDA Foods Package”.

In addition to these food stamps news updates, household income requirements change at the beginning of each fiscal year. To qualify for SNAP benefits during the 2018 year, for instance, households of one must have earned less than $1,307 per month in gross income (130 percent of the federal poverty level) and $1,005 in net monthly earnings (100 percent of the federal poverty level). To learn more about these recent changes, review the information below.

Possible Changes to SNAP Benefits Under the Trump Administration

Major food stamp law changes under the Trump administration could affect the way that SNAP participants select food and beverages for their households. Earlier in the year, the Trump administration proposed the idea of providing certain SNAP beneficiaries with a USDA Foods Package as part of their benefits, as this could reduce the cost of running the food stamp program over a 10-year period.

If congress approves these new food stamp rules, however, SNAP beneficiaries would have less options when it comes to choosing food. If program participants receive at least $90 per month in SNAP benefits, for instance, the USDA Foods Package would account for about 50 percent of their food benefits. The remaining benefit amount would be transferred onto their EBT card for purchasing any additional items. If approved, this new law would affect about 80 percent of all SNAP beneficiaries.

Related Article: History of Food Stamps

According to the USDA, these food stamp program changes could reduce SNAP expenses by $213 billion within the next 10 years. On the other hand, these changes would prevent families from selecting their own foods and beverages, and it would limit the  . These SNAP changes would provide program beneficiaries with a USDA Foods Package, containing meat, poultry or fish and shelf-stable foods and beverages such as peanut butter, milk, pasta, canned fruits and vegetables, beans and cereals. Fresh fruits and vegetables would not be included in the package and would need to be purchased in-store with the remaining EBT balance.

New Food Stamp Rules for Households

The USDA makes changes to food stamp benefits at the beginning of each fiscal year. These changes pertain to gross and net monthly income requirements, depending on household size and the state in which beneficiaries reside. In states such as Hawaii and Alaska, for instance, income limits are higher. From October 1, 2018 until September 30, 2019, these requirements include the following:

  • Households of 1 must earn a gross monthly income of less than $1,316 and a net monthly income of less than $1,012. In Alaska and Hawaii, these limits are $1,645 or $1,513 in gross income and $1,265 or $1,164 in net earnings.
  • Households of 2 must earn a gross monthly income of less than $1,784 and a net monthly income of less than $1,372. In Alaska and Hawaii, these new food stamp regulations are $2,230 or $2,051 in gross income and $1,715 or $1,578 in net earnings.
  • Households of 3 must earn a gross monthly income of less than $2,252 and a net monthly income of less than $1,732. In Alaska and Hawaii, these limits are $2,815 or $2,590 in gross income and $2,165 or $1,992 in net earnings.
  • Households of 4 must earn a gross monthly income of less than $2,720 and a net monthly income of less than $2,092. In Alaska and Hawaii, these new food stamp limits are $3,400 or $3,128 in gross income and $2,615 or $2,406 in net earnings.
  • Households of 5 must earn a gross monthly income of less than $3,188 and a net monthly income of less than $2,452. In Alaska and Hawaii, these limits are $3,985 or $3,666 in gross income and $3,065 or $2,820 in net earnings.
  • Households of 6 must earn a gross monthly income of less than $3,656 and a net monthly income of less than $2,812. In Alaska and Hawaii, these food stamp changes are $4,570 or $4,205 in gross income and $3,515 or $3,235 in net earnings.
  • Households of 7 must earn a gross monthly income of less than $4,124 and a net monthly income of less than $3,172. In Alaska and Hawaii, these limits are $5,155 or $4,743 in gross income and $3,965 or $3,649 in net earnings.
  • Households of 8 must earn a gross monthly income of less than $4,592 and a net monthly income of less than $3,532. In Alaska and Hawaii, these limits are $5,740 or $5,282 in gross income and $4,415 or $4,063 in net earnings.

Note: As per these food stamps law changes, families may add $468 to their gross monthly income and $360 to their net monthly income for each additional household member. In Alaska, however, households may add $585 to their gross monthly income and $450 to their net earnings. In Hawaii, families may add $539 to their gross monthly income and $415 to their net earnings.

Other Food Stamp Program Changes

Other food stamp news updates pertain to the Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018 (the farm bill). For instance, this bill eliminates Broad Based Categorical Eligibility (BBCE), requiring households to meet income and asset tests to qualify for SNAP benefits. Under the current BBCE policy, most households are automatically eligible for SNAP benefits if they qualify for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) or meet a state maintenance-of-effort (MOE) requirement.

Moreover, these food stamps law changes under the Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018 include mandatory work requirements for all adults who are capable of working and are between the ages of 18 and 59. As part of these work requirements, households will only qualify for SNAP benefits if they continue to meet income restrictions or they work or participate in a training program for at least 20 hours each week. However, the following SNAP participants would not need to meet these work requirements:

  • Pregnant women
  • Seniors
  • Individuals with disabilities
  • Caretakers of children who are younger than six years of age

If these changes to SNAP benefits take effect, program participants would need to work or accept free training in order to continue receiving their food stamp benefits.

Related Article: Food Stamps Statistics

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