The Biden administration has officially struck down a proposal by the previous presidency that, if enacted, would have taken away food stamps from 3 million people, and taken free school lunch eligibility away from 1 million kids.
The news is a good step forward in the fight to combat hunger across the United States, and it’s also great news for kids who won’t have their automatic eligibility for a free meal of the day taken away from them.
When Trump was still president in 2019, his administration issued a rule that would have limited eligibility for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, otherwise known as SNAP. The move would have been particularly cruel as SNAP delivers “more nutrition assistance to low-income children than any other federal program,” per the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.
Their 2017 memo on SNAP found that the program at that time helped families with 20 million kids afford a diet — otherwise known as 1 in 4 children in the United States. Since almost half of SNAP recipients are kids, and two-thirds of SNAP benefits go to families with kids, the move to kick 3 million families off of the benefit was particularly cruel.
It would largely harm people who need it the most, in other words. The same memo reports that in 2015, a typical family that received SNAP was one adult and two kids earning about $12,300 a year, or 60 percent of the poverty line. Per the CBPP, over 80 percent of SNAP families with kids live below the poverty line, and 45 percent of those are in deep poverty.
Trump’s proposal would have tightened eligibility guidelines for the deeply essential benefit (it lifts millions of people out of poverty who are on it) to kick those who aren’t the poorest off of it. It also would have potentially kicked those same children who benefit from their parents’ enrollment in SNAP off of automatic eligibility to free school meals — a major provider of nutrition to America’s children.
Luckily, Biden has decided to kick the rule to the curb, decimating a needlessly cruel rule that would have only contributed to hunger and made working families’ lives more precarious in a year marked by financial instability and an uptick in child hunger.