Vermont officials seek input on proposed changes to food stamp rules

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Vermont officials says more than 5,200 households in the state could lose benefits under proposed changes to the federal food stamp program.

The Trump administration says it wants to close a “loophole” in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, that allows states to raise or eliminate income eligibility requirements in some cases, allowing more people who are “food insecure” to receive benefits.

State officials estimate that 5,204 households could lose benefits under 3SquaresVT, the state’s SNAP program. In a press release, Vermont’s Department for Children and Families said that’s about 13 percent of the program’s enrollment, and would result in a loss of $7.5 million in annual benefits.

The changes would remove the state’s ability to consider not only a family’s income, but it’s child care, housing and other expenses, which may make it difficult for them to buy enough food.

The proposed rule change would also result in fewer children receiving free and reduced meals at school, the department said.

More than 4,600 Vermont children are eligible for National School Breakfast and Lunch Programs because of their enrollment in 3SquaresVT.

“This drop in 3SquaresVT eligibility for children could affect all children in schools who meet this community qualification,” the department said.

State officials say they have until September 23 to gather and submit public comments to the proposed SNAP changes.

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