MADISON (WKOW) — The Trump administration’s proposed rule change to tighten eligibility requirements for food stamps recipients could impact 25,000 Wisconsinites on the Foodshare program, according to the Department of Health Services.
Under current law, states may confer eligibility for food stamps, officially called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP, if they meet income and other requirements for TANF. USDA says states have expanded that to include households that “barely participate” in TANF.
DHS Medicaid Director Jim Jones said it would have a ripple effect for thousands on the program.
“It would create a chilling effect, because anytime that we had administrative barriers to any program and additional administrative hurdles, people many times just determine that it’s not worth it and they decide not to participate,” said Jones.
U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue said the rule would fix a “loophole” that expanded SNAP recipients in some states to include people who don’t need assistance.
“Too often, states have misused this flexibility without restraint,” said Perdue. “The American people expect their government to be fair, efficient, and to have integrity – just as they do in their own homes, businesses, and communities. That is why we are changing the rules, preventing abuse of a critical safety net system, so those who need food assistance the most are the only ones who receive it.”
Jones said Wisconsin is following their guidelines and doesn’t believe people are misusing the system.
“We try very hard to make data matches with other agencies with a number of different sources, federal sources, to make sure that that doesn’t happen,” said Jones.