Multiple States Sue USDA Over Proposed Narrowing of Food Stamp Assistance

Last week, 14 states and the District of Columbia filed a lawsuit against the federal government to challenge new regulations put forth by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) that are estimated to cause almost 700,000 people to lose food stamp assistance. The proposed changes would affect states’ ability to obtain waivers for work requirements that apply to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) by implementing more restrictive definitions of exceptions to work mandates related to things including insufficient job availability, geographic boundaries, and duration.

The lawsuit challenges the new policy on the basis that it is arbitrary and capricious, and violates other administrative law tenets. SNAP already requires working-age adults who do not have dependents or disabilities to work, and benefits are limited in duration for individuals who are not working or participating in training programs. The regulations’ opponents cite rising healthcare costs and homelessness, among other things, as likely negative outcomes if the changes are implemented.

Additional Reading

Complaint, District of Columbia, et al. v. USDA, et al., filed January 16, 2020, via Justia Dockets

Photo credit: / Jonathan Weiss