As many as 150,000 impoverished Michigan residents could lose food assistance and free school lunches under a proposal by President Trump’s administration.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture plans to reduce the number of people who are eligible for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
Currently, people who are receiving federal and state assistance are automatically eligible for SNAP, formerly known as food stamps. The plan aims to end automatic eligibility by requiring recipients to undergo income and asset tests.
Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue called the automatic eligibility a "loophole."
"For too long, this loophole has been used to effectively bypass important eligibility guidelines. Too often, states have misused this flexibility without restraint," Perdue said in a news release
. "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."
Michigan residents who are most at risk of losing these benefits are families, seniors, and people with disabilities.
The proposed cuts, which would save taxpayers an estimated $1.9 billion a year, are just the latest assault on federal aid programs by the Trump administration.
Stay on top of Detroit news and views. Sign up for our weekly issue newsletter delivered each Wednesday.