SNAP

Two pending rule changes meant to reduce what the Trump administration calls abuse of federal benefit programs could also mean hundreds of thousands of children lose access to free school meals.

Elsa Pearson, MPH, is a senior policy analyst at Boston University School of Public Health. She's on Twitter @epearsonbusph.

The closest grocery store is a few miles away and your paycheck doesn't clear until Friday. You even skipped lunch. With no car, only a few dollars and kids at home, you decide dinner will have to, yet again, be the local fast-food restaurant within walking distance. It's cost-effective, but you're already bracing for the "healthy weight" conversation at the pediatrician's next month.

Updated at 12:59 p.m. ET

The Trump administration is tightening work requirements for some food stamp recipients, a change that is expected to eliminate Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits for 688,000 adults.

When Elle Simone Scott was a young girl, her family relied on food stamps and her school's free lunch program to get by.

"At several points in my life, receiving free lunch when I needed it the most, it was so beneficial for me," she says. "You know, it was sometimes the most complete meal that I and some of my friends would have in a day."

Friday is the last day for the public to comment on a proposed rule change by the Trump administration that would eliminate Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits, or food stamps, for more than 3 million people.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture also recently admitted that the plan would mean that almost a million children would no longer automatically qualify for free school lunches.

The Trump administration's proposal to push millions of people out of the federal food stamp program would punish some of the country's neediest, including children, seniors and people with disabilities, according to mayors of 70 American cities who have sent a letter to an administrator for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

Walmart is expanding a program that allows for online orders of groceries to be picked up and paid for with food stamps at more than 2,500 locations.

It's the latest move by a major retailer to give low-income shoppers more options for using food stamps in the modern era of online shopping. Walmart, one of the world's largest retailers, began piloting the use of food stamps for online grocery pickup service in 2017 in a few locations.

Updated Aug. 27, 2019, 9:55 a.m. ET

The Trump administration is moving forward with a wave of new rules and regulations that would make it more difficult for low-income Americans — especially those in families that include non-citizens — to get government aid. NPR detailed many of the proposals in June, but there have been several developments since then.

For roughly 40 million Americans, SNAP benefits are a lifeline.

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as food stamps, delivers about $60 billion in aid each year. And retailers that accept SNAP benefits are required to stock a variety of staple foods — including a minimum number of fruits and vegetables, meat, dairy and grain options.

Three-quarters of a million people would likely lose their food stamps later this year under a new proposal by the Trump administration. The goal is to encourage able-bodied adults to go to work and get off government aid. But opponents predict people would go hungry instead, if the rule goes into effect.

A public comment period, which ends Tuesday, has so far drawn more than 28,000 comments overwhelmingly against the proposed rule.

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