The latest data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) shows a reduction of 6,268,285 individuals from the food stamps program since the first full month of the Trump administration, February 2017.
Program changes and a significantly lower unemployment rate are credited for the improvement.
Most conservatives agree that the fraud-plagued food stamps program, also known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), helps create dependency on government and diminish personal ambition.
A savings of $750 million annually has been realized from the decreased number collecting SNAP benefits since Trump came into office.
The number of people participating in and drawing SNAP handouts peaked during the second term of the Obama years in 2013, when almost 48 million were collecting food stamps as a result of the Democrat president’s efforts to allow people with higher incomes to qualify to receive benefits.
At that point, Republicans pushed back, beginning a series of legislative moves that would reduce dependence on food stamps. At the same time, individual states started to reinstate work requirements or to attend school, volunteer, or participate in job training for at least 20 hours a week to qualify for food stamp participation.
Currently, more than 36 million individuals remain enrolled in SNAP. The average monthly benefit today is about $122.
President Trump has said that he aims to tame the country’s dependence on food stamps. He also has stated that he wants people coming into the country to be self-sufficient. “I don’t want to have anyone coming in that’s on welfare,” Trump told Breitbart in March.
“We have a problem, because we have politicians that are not strong, or they have bad intentions, or they want to get votes, because they think if they come in they’re going to vote Democrat, you know, for the most part,” said Trump, in response to a statistic reported by the Center for Immigration Studies that reported that 63 percent of non-citizen households end up on welfare, while just 35 percent of native-born American households end up on welfare. For those households with children, almost 80 percent collect welfare benefits.
An interesting point of reference … the amount spent by the federal government in one month on SNAP benefits, more than $5 billion, would more than pay for the border wall.
The administration is in the process of closing more loopholes in SNAP that allow for the misuse of the program. A USDA proposal issued in July aims to eliminate 3.1 million people from food stamp rolls who already receive non-cash welfare benefits.
Additionally, in August, the Trump administration enacted a regulation known as a public charge rule requiring immigrants who want to remain in the U.S. legally to prove they are self-sufficient. That change creates more obstacles for gaining legal status for those who do receive welfare benefits.
“We want to see people coming to this country who are self-sufficient,” U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Director Ken Cuccinelli said. “That’s a core principle of the American Dream. It’s deeply embedded in our history, and particularly our history related to legal immigration.”
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