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USDA Opens Door For States To Impose New Rules On Food Stamps : The Salt : NPR

The USDA says it will give states more flexibility in how they deliver federal benefits known as SNAP or food stamps.

Allen Breed/AP


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Allen Breed/AP

The USDA says it will give states more flexibility in how they deliver federal benefits known as SNAP or food stamps.

Allen Breed/AP

The delivery of federal food benefits for millions of low-income people is likely to change after the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced Tuesday it’ll allow states more flexibility in how they dole out the money.

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said in a news release that his agency wants states to try out programs that don’t increase the cost of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as food stamps, but instead promote job training and reduce waste and fraud. The news release said specifics will be provided in “the coming weeks.”

“We want to provide the nutrition people need, but we also want to help them transition from government programs, back to work, and into lives of independence,” Perdue said.

States already have wide latitude to demand that people work or at least look for a job in order to receive SNAP benefits, according to Ed Bolen of the nonpartisan Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, based in Washington, D.C.

Under federal law, people without children who are able to work either must work or attend job training at least 20 hours per week to receive SNAP benefits beyond 3 months. States are allowed to bypass that rule when they have high…

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