( Fox News ) The Trump administration is considering adopting a plan that would allow states to require mandatory drug testing for some food stamp recipients, the Associated Press reported Wednesday.
The proposal is another step in the White House’s push to allow states more flexibility in implementing federal programs for the poor. It also wants to allow states to tighten work requirements for food stamp recipients.
Federal law currently prohibits states from imposing their own conditions on food stamp eligibility. However, at least 20 states have introduced legislation to screen safety net program participants in some capacity, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
An administration official told The AP the drug testing plan would mostly apply to people who are able-bodied, without dependents and seeking some specialized jobs. The official estimated that roughly five percent of participants in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) could be affected.
- Pres. Trump’s “America’s Harvest Box” would provide 16.4 million households, about 81% of current food stamp recipients, with boxes of non-perishable food items grown by U.S. farmers in place of some of their SNAP aid.
The Trump administration has a proposal to replace some of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program’s (SNAP) cash benefits with boxes of physical food.
The plan, outlined in the administration’s budget blueprint for fiscal year 2019, is being dubbed “America’s Harvest Box” by the Department of Agriculture. It would provide 16.4 million households, about 81% of current food stamp recipients, with boxes of non-perishable food items grown by U.S. farmers in place of some of their SNAP aid. The government’s proposed program would apply to households that receive more than $90 in food stamp benefits.
Items that could be included in a government-issued food box are grains, peanut butter, canned meat, canned fruits and vegetables, juice and other shelf-stable products, according to the Department of Agriculture. The government would decide what to include based on nutrition guidelines utilized for other, existing programs, such as the Emergency Food Assistance Program, and the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations.
( Milo ) Illegal immigrants are reportedly canceling their food stamps en masse over fears of being deported, reports the Washington Post.
In an article titled “Immigrants are going hungry so Trump won’t deport them,” WaPo writer Caitlin Dewey cites New York-based SNAP Outreach Coordinator Luisa Fortin whose clients are “spooked by the political climate.”
The article reads:
Since mid-January, five of Fortin’s families have withdrawn from the SNAP program. Based on calls she gets from other clients, she fears more cancellations are imminent.
WaPo goes on to point out that Luisa’s food bank in Chattanooga is not the only one in the country experiencing a downturn in SNAP users.
In the two months since President Trump’s inauguration, food banks and hunger advocates around the country have noticed a decline in the number of eligible immigrants applying for SNAP – and an uptick in immigrants seeking to withdraw from the program.
Many apparently fear that participation in SNAP will catch Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s attention.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture reports that 1.5 million illegal immigrants used food stamps in 2015.