Trump administration tightens food stamp work requirements

FILE - In this Feb. 27, 2019 file photo, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue testifies during a House Agriculture Committee hearing, on Capitol Hill in Washington. The Trump administration is tightening work requirements for the federal food stamp program in a move that will slash benefits for hundreds of thousands of people. The finalized rule, announced Wednesday, will restrict states from exempting work-eligible adults from having to obtain steady employment in order to receive benefits through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, which helps feed more than 36 million Americans. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Trump administration is tightening work requirements for the federal food stamp program in a move that will slash benefits for hundreds of thousands of people.

The final rule, announced Wednesday, will limit the ability of states to exempt work-eligible adults from having to obtain steady employment in order to receive benefits through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, which helps feed more than 36 million Americans.

Scaling back public benefits for low-income Americans has long been a Trump administration priority. The rule announced Wednesday is one of three proposals for cutting the food stamp program.

Brandon Lipps, deputy under secretary for the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Nutrition and Consumer Services, said tightening the work requirement would save roughly $5.5 billion over five years. It would also cut benefits for roughly 688,000 SNAP recipients.