Courtesy of Center for American Progress
Courtesy of Center for American Progress

The Trump administration’s proposed changes to the federal food stamp program would be particularly hurtful to children living in low-income households, a group of educators and child advocates testified Thursday before Congress.

According to Department of Agriculture estimates, more than 3.1 million people could lose benefits this year if the proposed Broad-Based Categorical Eligibility (BBCE) regulation takes effect, impacting an estimated 265,000 children nationwide who would no longer be automatically qualified for free school lunches.

The plan — the second of three proposed rule changes to the food stamp program, commonly known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP — is expected to take effect soon, and an earlier rule expected to take effect April 1, will impose stricter work requirements on able-bodied adults without disabilities, and cut benefits to approximately 700,000 people.

Currently, families in 39 states and the District of Columbia can become automatically eligible for SNAP, if they already are receiving other types of aid for low-income households.

Lisa Davis, senior vice president of the No Kid Hungry campaign, one of the four people who testified, said the point of SNAP is to provide families with some savings so they can become financially secure and move out of poverty.

“BBCE allows these families to remain eligible for SNAP and free school meals,” Davis said. “It creates efficiency and reduces administrative burdens on state agencies and schools, but most importantly it encourages work. It helps low-income families move out of poverty and build financial security. It allows them to accumulate modest assets to weather an unexpected financial crisis. It also ensures that their children can receive the nutrition they need at home and at school.”

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This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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