BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — Food banks are bracing for an expected surge in needy individuals in April, after a new Trump administration rule regarding Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits is expected to take effect.
The rule is aimed at tightening work requirements for individuals receiving the benefit that helps them buy groceries—but advocates for those now getting assistance say the rule change hurts the already disadvantaged.
The change applies to adult individuals without dependents. Many are currently working part-time or in seasonal jobs that leave them vulnerable and dependent on the monthly benefit that averages just under $200 per month.
Without it, they'll have difficulty putting food on the table, putting added pressure on already stretched local food banks.
In Western Massachusetts alone, some 10,000 people are expected to lose their SNAP benefits, according to an article in the Berkshire Eagle. According to Massachusetts Department of Transitional Assistance data, there were 764,203 clients receiving SNAP benefits statewide as of September 2019.
"Our feeling about this rule, and all of the proposed rules, is that this is really an attack on poor people," Christina Maxwell, director of programs at The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts, told the Eagle. "It's unnecessary. It's cruel. It's taking food away from people when they are most vulnerable and most in need of help."
Those affected also include veterans returning from war with undiagnosed trauma disorders, as well as children aging out of the foster care system.
Food banks say they'll do their best to address the anticipated increased needs of a vulnerable group of individuals.
WBZ NewsRadio's Mike Macklin reports