3.1 million at risk of being cut off from food stamps

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(WBRE/WYOU) — The Trump administration is proposing a rule that would limit Americans’ access to food stamps. More than three million people could be removed from the federal program.

A new proposal by the Trump administration would limit Americans’ access to food stamps by eliminating automatic enrollment in the program for poor families who receive welfare benefits. The proposal is the latest effort to cut back on the supplemental nutritional assistance program, also known as SNAP.

“Oh man, I think it’s pathetic. I honestly think it’s a very selfish move. It’s really inconsiderate of the people that’s actually in need of the assistance,” Tiffani Pinkney of Williamsport said.

The United States Department of Agriculture estimates that 1.7 million households will not meet SNAP’s income and asset eligibility prerequisites under the proposed rule. That’s about 3.1 million people who would lose their benefits.

“There is a lot of people that need food here in Williamsport,” Axel Berrios of South Williamsport said.

A spokesperson with the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank shared a statement with Eyewitness News: “We are still looking into exactly how many families it might affect in Central Pennsylvania. We do know that SNAP is a critical program to helping people in need to have access to healthy nutritious food.”

“Each week I order anywhere from I would say three to five thousand pounds of food. Meat alone, at least 3,000 and we go through that in a week’s time so that’s quite a bit of food,” Gary Shipman, director of social services for American Rescue Workers said.

Shipman also leads the food pantry. He says in June, the pantry had more than 850 people come in to bring home meals.

“Obviously it’s going to affect the community quite a bit,” Shipman said.

The Trump administration says if 3.1 million Americans are cut from the program, it will essentially save taxpayers about $2.5 billion a year.

“It’s only 12 percent of the U.S. population is actually using and benefitting off of welfare. That’s only 12 percent so you know that’s real selfish not to be able to give to the people that actually need it,” Pinkney said.

A final regulation will be issued after a 60-day public comment period.

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