The Trump administration moved Wednesday to throw 700,000 people off of food assistance in the form of SNAP benefits.
It will affect those who have been receiving benefits but who can’t find work.
The new rules will take effect April 1.
Anti-hunger activists have repeatedly emphasized that SNAP is intended to address hunger and not compel people to work.
Many also noted that those affected are the most poor, tend to live in rural areas, often face mental health issues and disabilities.
Black and Hispanic households, women and LGBTQ people would be disproportionately affected by the change.
Most SNAP recipients already have jobs, but the jobs pay so little that they qualify for the benefit because they can’t afford food on what they are paid.
“We’re taking action to reform our SNAP program in order to restore the dignity of work to a sizable segment of our population,” said Trump’s Agriculture Secretary Sonny Purdue.
The dignity of work?
Where is the dignity of work when half of those families who receive SNAP benefits already work.
They have at least one person in the family working, according to the latest figures from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
And when it comes to families on SNAP with kids, a majority — 55 percent — are bringing home wages, according to USDA. The problem is, those wages aren’t enough to actually live on.
Feeding America, a network of U.S. food banks, found that 54 percent of the families who turn to pantries to help put food on the table have at least one member working, and that rate was much higher, 71 percent, for households with kids.
Chicago’s city council recently a $15 an hour minimum wage ordinance that takes effect in 2021. An Illinois $15 requiring $15 an hour doesn’t take effect until 2025.
I am a retired elementary art teacher, union guy, political activist, artist and blogger. I taught for 28 years in Park Ridge, Illinois and was President of the local union for 10 years.
View all posts by Fred Klonsky