Thousands of Michiganders could lose SNAP benefits under USDA proposal

Sep 6, 2019

As many as 165,000 people in Michigan could lose access to Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (or SNAP) benefits under a proposed United States Department of Agriculture rule change.

The findings come from Mathematica, a policy research group based out of Princeton.

The group looked at the impacts of a proposed USDA rule change that would stop states from offering SNAP benefits to families making more than the federal poverty guidelines. Currently, advocates for “broad based eligibility” say it allows states to still offer SNAP benefits in areas where the cost of living is high. It also allows people to receive assistance while keeping modest savings.

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue says the change would make nationwide policy more consistent. 

“Well that is true but the thing is that different state’s circumstances vary,” says Karen Cunnyngham, who is with Mathematica. “Assets don’t go the same distance in different jurisdiction so this allows states to accommodate that to their own jurisdiction.”

Cunnyngham says the estimates in Michigan, which are based on 2016 data, may be a little high.

“SNAP roles have dropped since 2016 so the real number is probably a little less than that but still the number is over 100-thousand people,” she said.

Nationally the rule change is expected to impact roughly 3.6-million people. Trump Administration Officials say this could save as much as $2.5 billion dollars.

U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow has called the rule change a way to “circumvent congress” and take food away from families.