Food Stamp Recertification to be Reinstated by USDA, Food Experts Worry

Sep 02, 2020 09:28 PM EDT | By Madelaine D. (staff@foodworldnews.com)

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Food stamp recertification wants to be reinstated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which will require already approved applicants for food stamps to prove that their income is low enough to maintain the benefits. 

The USDA would like to restore the pre-pandemic rules that require the beneficiaries of food stamps to provide a proof that their income is low enough to deserve the benefits. 

Food Stamp Recertification Reinstates by USDA, Food Experts Worry
(Photo : John Moore)
Food Bank For NYC Provides Food Pantry And Soup Kitchen To Harlem Families NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 11: Harlem residents choose free groceries at the Food Bank For New York City on December 11, 2013 in New York City. The food bank distributes dry, canned and fresh food to needy residents and works with community based member programs to provide some 400,000 free meals per day throughout the city. Need increased in November when 47 million low-income people nationwide saw their food stamps cut as the federal SNAP program expired.

According to WBTW, food assistance advocates worry that millions of needy families will fall out of the beneficiaries list. The USDA said that it would give states a room in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recertification process.

The Washington-based Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, Dottie Rosenbaum, said that it's quite alarming, especially for households with children. As per Rosenbaum, the USDA should not reinstate the rules.

Besides, the food stamp recertification will require extra paperwork and more time for interviews, as per Wood TV. In March, the USDA waived the rule to help states process tons of new SNAP applicants faster. However, the food stamp recertification will be implemented again this month. 

"While some things gotten a little bit better since the start of the pandemic, we're nowhere near back to normal," Rosenbaum said. "There's a real risk that (many applicants will) lose food assistance is when they put through this process of needing to reprove their eligibility," she added.

Senator Debbi Stabenow and D-Mich agreed with Dottie Rosenbaum. Stabenow said, "We have folks that have never before needed food help and need it now. We need to have more support through SNAP. ... This is a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic. We need to be stepping up."

However, the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue, stood by his decision to return the food stamp recertification protocol. Perdue's office states that they have ample time to prepare for the high volumes, especially the areas. High unemployment is still allowed to apply for waivers to make the applications faster.

Perdue explained, "As long as communities and areas of the labor force are above that unemployment cap." The process of a waiver application is held monthly.

Meanwhile, millions of Floridians currently depending on aid to buy their basic groceries during the COVID-19 pandemic are worried about the return of different requirements that might limit their access to essential food assistance. Starting on Tuesday, various waivers of the conditions placed amid the pandemic for the food stamps are set to expire. 

Those that will lapse include the waiver of the state of job search requirements as a condition for receiving money for food. Also, the federal waiver delayed the need for recipients to reapply and continue to get aid, according to the Tampa Bay Times.

Besides, a provision that allows all food stamp recipients to get the maximum amount in assistance based on the household size is near to expire. This means some recipients could experience a sudden drop in their monthly aid unless the state asked for and authorized a continuation of a waiver from the federal government.

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