Judge blocks federal changes to SNAP eligibility policy

Michigan
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(WLNS) – A U.S. District Court judge ruled yesterday against a federal policy limiting access to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP.

The administration proposed those rules back in December, when the national unemployment rate was less than half what it is today. Almost 6 million more people have enrolled in SNAP since May, an increase of 17%.

The changes would have raised work requirements for childless adults to access SNAP. They would also have eliminated “categorical eligibility,” which automatically enrolls people who qualify for other aid programs, and change the formula to calculate heating costs to make some recipients appear to have a higher income than they do.

The Urban Institute, a left-leaning think tank in Washington, D.C., estimates the changes would have reduced or eliminated benefits for more than 5 million households, mostly in cold-weather states like Michigan.

In her ruling to block these new rules today, Judge Beryl Howell said the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which is in charge of SNAP, had been “icily silent” on how many people would be affected by the changes.

The USDA did not return a request for comment by CBS News.

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