500,000 students could lose free school meals due to food stamp changes

National News
Local reaction on relaxed requirements for school lunch program

More than half a million low-income students could lose free school meals due to proposed changes to the nation’s food stamp program.

That’s according to Democratic Congressman Bobby Scott, of Virginia, who chairs the House Committee on Education and Labor.

Scott also says the Department of Agriculture concealed data that revealed the cuts to free student meals.

He voiced concerns in a letter to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue.

Scott wrote that the impact on school meal eligibility wasn’t included in the administration’s proposal for revising who qualifies for food stamps.

The Agriculture Department issued a proposed rule Tuesday that curtails so-called broad-based categorical eligibility, which makes it easier for Americans with somewhat higher incomes and more savings to participate in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, the formal name for food stamps, according to CNN.

It is the administration’s latest step to clamp down on the food stamps program, which covers 38 million Americans, and other public assistance services. It wants to require more poor people to work for SNAP benefits, and it is looking to change the way the poverty threshold is calculated, a move that could strip many low-income residents of their federal benefits over time, according to CNN.

CNN reached out to the Department of Agriculture for comment.

Roughly 38 million Americans get food stamps under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

Under the proposed rule, more than 3 million people could lose benefits.

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