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New food stamps rule could impact 30,000 Arizonans

(Getty Images Photo/Fiona Goodall)

PHOENIX — President Donald Trump’s administration’s proposed rule to tighten eligibility requirements for food stamps could impact 30,000 in the state, according to the CEO of the Association of Arizona Food Banks.

Angie Rodgers told KTAR News 92.3 FM that the revised regulation would “eliminate broad-base categorical eligibility” for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

“What the proposal would do is reduce the income eligibility guidelines from $185% of the federal poverty line … down to 130% of the federal poverty line,” Rodgers said.

For example, families of three who only make $27,000 annually would qualify, while those who make $39,000 as of now are eligible.

Rodgers said the rule would also impose asset tests, meaning that owning something such as a car would count against a person’s eligibility.

“What we are talking about are families that are working, so these are individuals who either work low-wage jobs, or they don’t work enough hours that allows them provide food or other basic necessities for their families, so they rely on SNAP to help supplement their food budgets,” she said.

“And so if you are talking about eliminating all of the working individuals from the program, you’re really disincentivizing work and you’re trying to kick out of the program the individuals that are really striving to do their best for their family.”

Rodgers said seniors on a fixed income would also likely be affected “because they might not meet the income threshold now,” she said.

“So now we’re talking about potentially taking seniors off the program who rely on this for their nutritional support.”

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 1.7 million households would not meet income requirements following the rule change, saving the government $9.4 billion over five years.

About 36 million people participated in SNAP in April 2019.

The proposed rule is open for public comment until Sept. 23.

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Grisela Zetino and The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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