The Biden administration has officially withdrawn a Trump-era proposal that would have removed millions of adults from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and prevented their children from receiving free school lunches.
The rule change, which was formally introduced by the Trump administration in 2019, would have imposed stricter work requirements for adults receiving SNAP benefits, also known as “food stamps.” The proposal would have stripped three million adults of their benefits and excluded roughly 1 million children from accessing free school lunches.
The rule change was blocked by a federal judge in March 2020. In October of that year, the same judge tossed the rule out completely, finding that it “radically and abruptly alters decades of regulatory practice.”
The Trump administration had planned to appeal the ruling, but after President Joe Biden won the 2020 presidential election and was sworn into office, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) withdrew the appeal. Though enforcement of the proposal was not allowed, it was still technically on the books until the Biden administration removed it this week.
The Trump administration had been unsuccessful in pushing another proposal that would have removed 700,000 childless adults from the program.
Under Biden’s tenure, the USDA announced it would be expanding SNAP benefits by 15 percent through September 2021, due to passage of the American Rescue Plan, the recovery bill that was passed this year in response to the economic crisis triggered by the coronavirus pandemic. The additional $3.5 billion given to households across the U.S. means that families will be less burdened with food expenses — a family of four, for example, will receive an extra $100 per month in their SNAP benefits thanks to the law.
Millions of families depend on SNAP to help them make ends meet — and with the coronavirus pandemic, the need for aid increased dramatically. As of February this year, more than 42 million individuals were part of the program, a 14 percent increase compared to one year prior.