Victory for SNAP Recipients Nationwide

On Sunday, a federal court in DC issued an injunction permanently blocking a Trump Administration rule that would have deprived more than 700,000 people of desperately needed SNAP benefits.  The District of Columbia v. U.S.D.A decisionis a victory for people who rely on SNAP benefits across the country.

Since 1996, the USDA has limited receipt of SNAP benefits by low-income persons who are 18 to 49 years old and who are not raising minor children (referred to by the rule as “Able-Bodied Adults Without Dependents” or “ABAWDs”) to just three months’ worth of food assistance within a three-year period, unless they work at least 20 hours each week. However, states have always been able to apply for waivers that exempt from this rule individuals who live in areas where jobs are scarce, particularly when unemployment rates are high around the country. 

If permitted to take effect, the new rules would have drastically expanded the number of people who are subject to the harsh work requirement, taken away discretion needed by states to respond quickly to economic downturns, and put hundreds of thousands of people across the country at risk of losing essential support in the middle of a historic public health and economic crisis.  The Trump Administration planned to implement these rules as soon as the current federal public health emergency ended, despite the COVID-19 pandemic and the related economic crisis.

NCLEJ filed comments opposing the rules before they were finalized, and filed an amicus brief in support of the plaintiffs earlier this year.