Trump’s plan to cut SNAP benefits could harm thousands

More than 3,400 households in Monongalia County could lose government assistance for basic food needs if a government plan to curtail the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP for short, moves forward.
According to the West Virginia Center on Budget & Policy, the Trump administration wants to end the ability of states to adjust their SNAP programs to better suit the needs of their residents, a move that would take $19 million out of state and local economies.
If the plan is approved and there is a slight increase in income, then the SNAP recipient — if receiving assistance from other state programs — could lose benefits. Overall, more than 25,400 West Virginians could be affected.
“We’re open and available to help anyone affected,” said Colleen Lankford, director of Christian Help, a nonprofit that also operates a food pantry on Walnut Street in downtown Morgantown.
In July, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said the proposal would remove a person’s automatic enrollment in the program if the recipient already applied for other state benefit programs. The government said the plan could save taxpayers $2.5 billion annually and reduce fraud.
West Virginia last year increased its income limit from 130% to 200% of the federal poverty line, $25,750 for a family of four. The USDA’s deadline for public comment on the Trump administration’s proposal is Monday.
SNAP is the nation’s largest food assistance program. Its benefits can only be used to buy food for human consumption, as well as seeds or plants to grow food at home. The benefits cannot be used to purchase household items, grooming products, tobacco, pet food and alcohol.
“Any effort to cut SNAP programs for current families enrolled in the program will be harmful to the state of West Virginia,” Laura Jones, executive director of Milan Puskar Health Right, said in an email.

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