Florida education officials and advocates say about 200,000 students could become ineligible for automatic free school lunches under a Trump administration proposal expected to reduce the number of food stamps enrollees.
A finalized rule could come as soon as the end of the month.
Children automatically qualify for free lunches if their families receive food stamps, but in July the Trump administration proposed tightening eligibility for what was formerly called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. The U.S. Agriculture Department released an analysis in October showing nearly 1 million students nationwide could be affected.
Over the past year, the Department of Agriculture proposed three changes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, known as SNAP or food stamps. The new rules create stricter work requirements for program eligibility, cap deductions for utility allowances and “reform” the way 40 states automatically enroll families into SNAP when they receive other forms of federal aid.
Though the proposed changes will negatively impact millions across the country, in seven states, however, the changes will give more people food stamp access. Critics and experts say that would be antithetical to the program’s goals to address food insecurity in the United States.
Under the USDA’s new rule, a fixed utility cost would be set for every state. The USDA estimates the change would improve the integrity of SNAP and save the federal government an estimated $4.5 billion over five years.
Still, impacted Florida households would still be eligible for free- and reduced-price meals if they individually file an application for the National School Lunch Program.
Trump Food Stamp Change Could Affect 200K Florida Students