“The final rule at issue in this litigation radically and abruptly changes decades of regulatory practice, causing confusion for tens of thousands of Americans and exponentially increasing food insecurity,” wrote Judge Beryl Howell of the Washington, DC District Court A 67 – Side judgment states that the agency has not adequately explained how the rule is compatible with federal law and how it “makes sense”.
The requirement could have resulted in 688,000 able-bodied adults of working age without dependents losing their Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, as food stamps are officially known, according to estimates by the Department of Agriculture calculated before the pandemic. It was expected to save $ 5.5 billion in five years.
Grocery stamp enrollments soared during the outbreak as millions of Americans lost their jobs. According to the ruling, more than 6 million people have signed up for benefits since May, an increase of 17%.
Almost 43 million Americans received benefits as of April, according to the latest data from the Department of Agriculture.
During normal times, the grocery stamp program requires that non-disabled adults of working age have jobs with no dependents. They can only receive benefits every 36 months for three months unless they work or attend training programs 20 hours a week. In 2018 there were 2.9 million of these recipients, almost 74% of whom were unemployed, according to the agency.
The Ministry of Agriculture did not immediately return a request for comment.
States may waive the job requirements for areas where unemployment is at least 10% or where there are insufficient jobs as determined by the Department of Labor. The new regime would have made it more difficult for states to maintain these exemptions by, among other things, tightening the definition of areas with insufficient jobs, limiting the geographical areas of the exemptions and limiting their duration.
The move is one of three efforts by the Trump administration to overhaul the grocery stamp program.