At a time when the coronavirus pandemic destroyed the economy of the United States, leading to a record number of job losses, the Trump administration continues to make things hard for the poor people restricting access to their largest food assistance program. Previously, Trump and his Government tried to bring in new rules for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), simply known as food stamps, before a judge blocked them. On Tuesday, the Department of Agriculture issued a notice silently to appeal the judge's order to stop the intended cuts to the program. If the Department of Agriculture wins its appeal, it will have the power to strip off 688,000 Americans of their food benefits as per the Government's estimates.
The SNAP program has helped the childless adults between 18 and 49 in receiving three months of food stamps within three years subjected to work requirements. States have the option to provide waiver exceptions for some of the work requirements. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, every state except Delaware used waivers to help its residents to get access to food. However, the Department of Agriculture was ready to change the rules as on April 1. As per the new regulations, states require to meet a higher benchmark before they are allowed to issue waivers. Explaining the new rule, Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue said - "We need to encourage people by giving them a helping hand, but that doesn't mean allowing the state governments to provide a helping hand indefinitely." Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the number of people applying for SNAP has increased rapidly. Approximately 12,000 signed up for SNAP in the first week of March in Ohio alone. 29,334 more signed up during the last week of April. Other states are reported similar numbers. The number of residents who applied during the first week of April was more than double the number of what it was in the last year in the state of Washington. Responding to the Government's appeal, Ohio Democrat Marcia Fudge said - "This is a cruel and unrealistic policy by USDA. If they had any compassion or decency left in them, they would completely abandon this appeal."Dr. Dhillon Randeep
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