The Trump administration’s proposed new regulations for the SNAP food stamp program announced Tuesday would likely render thousands of Maine families ineligible for the benefit, according to a local low-income advocacy group.
Robyn Merrill of Maine Equal Justice says the state is already grappling with a high rate of hunger, which she says is due in part to tighter eligibility requirements put in place under former Gov. Paul LePage.
“We have an opportunity now in Maine to reverse … some of those decisions that have had a negative impact. And these restrictions from the federal level, this proposed rule, would just take that flexibility away form states and just make it harder for people to access the food they need,” she says. “We know that we should be moving in the opposite direction, Maine is struggling with hunger, and that we need to do more to improve access to food assistance.”
The U.S. Department of Agriculture says the new restrictions are needed to ensure assistance is provided to people who truly need it. There’s a 60-day public comment period on the proposal.