Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue (Alex Wong/Getty Images)
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A proposed rule from the USDA would save an estimated $2.5 billion each year
A Minnesota millionaire made headlines last year when he revealed he was able to collect $300 a month in food stamps for over 19 months using a loophole in the USDA's Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. Now, the Trump administration has proposed a rule change aimed at stopping that from happening again.
What are the details?
Property owner Rob Undersander from Waite Park, Minnesota, ruffled feathers in his home state when he applied for — and received — SNAP benefits despite owning $1 million in assets. Undersander didn't need the assistance. In fact, he donated the funds to his church and other charities — he simply wanted to show the opportunities for waste in the system.
Democrats were furious at the wealthy businessman for exposing holes in the SNAP program. Now, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue is using Undersander as an example for why loopholes in the SNAP program need to be closed off.
On Tuesday, the USDA announced a proposed rule that would close automatic eligibility to food stamps for families already receiving other "substantial, ongoing" benefits without meeting congressionally mandated asset and income thresholds.
A news release from the department read, "The proposed rule would fix a loophole that has expanded SNAP recipients in some states to include people who receive assistance when they clearly don't need it. In fact, the depth of this specific flexibility has become so egregious that a millionaire living in Minnesota successfully enrolled in the program simply to highlight the waste of taxpayer money."
Perdue issued a statement saying, "For too long, this loophole has been used to effectively bypass important eligibility guidelines. Too often, states have misused this flexibility without restraint.
"The American people expect their government to be fair, efficient, and to have integrity — just as they do in their own homes, businesses, and communities. That is why we are changing the rules, preventing abuse of a critical safety net system, so those who need food assistance the most are the only ones who receive it," Perdue said.
The Washington Examiner reported that the USDA's proposal would remove an estimated 3 million people from the SNAP benefit rolls, resulting in savings of around $2.5 billion annually.
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