Government food assistance programs were created to be a safety net to ensure that the poorest in America don’t go hungry. 

Currently, 36 million people were on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) also known as food stamps and that number has been falling thanks to a few factors: we have a strong economy generating jobs that allow more Americans to move from government assistance to independence; wages are rising; and the Trump administration has been implementing reforms of our public assistance programs to target help to the truly needy.

One such proposed measure would close a loophole that automatically enrolls people into the food stamp program without checking their income level and/or assets.

States receive block grants from the federal government to spend on food assistance and other programs. Unfortunately, some of them have misused an administrative tool called categorical eligibility, which allows a person to be eligible for food stamps if she receives cash and non-cash public benefits from another program, to enroll more people.

Now, we have an estimated five million people receiving food stamps even though they do not qualify based incomes being too high or having too much in assets. That includes millionaires and lottery winners.

The Independent Women’s Forum submitted a comment in support of the Trump administration closing this loophole.

As a result of this loophole, taxpayers spend $7 billion per year giving food stamps to those who would not be eligible for the benefit. This helps explain the skyrocketing spending on SNAP from $250 million in 1969 to $71 billion in 2016.

That is a misuse of taxpayer dollars and removes those resources from those who are truly needy…

States have a responsibility to ensure the integrity of public assistance programs. Closing the broad-based categorical eligibility loophole is one way of achieving that at the federal level, but states should also ensure they are reforming their systems to reduce fraud and abuse of public assistance programs.

Download the comment by clicking the link above and send a comment in support of this rule here.

Americans are extremely generous and don’t tolerate seeing their neighbors go hungry. They donate to churches, soup kitchens, shelters, and other charities which provide meals and groceries to their fellow Americans who are struggling to feed their families.

Americans also send tax dollars to Washington to fund public assistance programs and expect that lawmakers and regulators are doing everything they can to root out waste, fraud, and abuse. 

This loophole created the opportunity for significant abuse of our social safety net and, now, someone is doing something about it.

Overcrowding in public assistance programs hurts those who are truly needy.

Closing this loophole is a step forward to ensuring that vulnerable Americans have the help they need and those who can take care of their own needs, do so.