Federal Judge Stops Stricter Enforcement of Food Stamp Work Requirement

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Federal Judge Stops Stricter Enforcement of Food Stamp Work Requirement

A federal judge has put a stop to the Trump Administration's plan to enforce work requirements for food stamp recipients.


Under the Trump Administration rule announced last year, states would have less ability to waive rules requiring food stamp recipients who are between 18 and 49 and who do not have a disability or dependents to work or be in work training programs for 20 hours a week. A federal judge blocked the rule from going into effect this week, preserving the broad authority of states to waive this requirement. 


Nineteen states and the District of Columbia had sued to overturn the rule. Chief U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell agreed with these plaintiffs, saying that the Trump Administration had acted capriciously in changing regulatory policy. He also said this rule would increase food insecurity for millions of Americans.


Trump Administration officials argued that this rule was a way to spur food stamp recipients to find jobs if they are able to work. These officials pointed out that it does not affect people who are caring for children, the elderly, or those who have a disability.


Opponents countered that this regulation will end vital food assistance to needy Americans. They said that it was a way to push people off a program that they need to feed their family. They also argued that it removed the flexibility of states to design a food stamp program that takes into account people who have sporadic work or are underemployed. 


Congress had put the stricter enforcement of the work requirement on hold during the course of the coronavirus pandemic. 


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