Part of President Donald Trump’s agenda to “make America great again” is to improve economic conditions such that more people are able to become independent and self-sufficient instead of relying on government largesse and taxpayer-funded benefits to get by.
In that aspect, there has been some measure of success — the number of individuals and families enrolled in the food stamp program since President Trump first took office in Jan. 2017 has substantially decreased, Breitbart reports.
More specifically, roughly 2.4 million families — and nearly 5.9 million individuals — have ceased drawing benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) over the course of Trump’s tenure in the White House.
Reduction in SNAP enrollment
Those figures come from data produced by the U.S. Department of Agriculture which showed that as of the end of Fiscal Year 2019 — Sept. 2019 — there were 34,474,188 individuals and 17,374,002 families enrolled in SNAP for an annual cost to taxpayers of $53,761,253,656.
2019’s numbers are significantly lower than in 2017, when there were 42,228,118 individuals and 20,900,823 families in SNAP for a cost of $63,711,051,076 to taxpayers.
The reported difference of 5.8 million fewer individuals and 2.4 million fewer families enrolled in the program comes from the fact that preliminary estimates for the 2020 fiscal year show slight upticks in enrollment for individuals and families, with an estimated 36.4 million and 18.5 million enrolled, respectively.
Work requirements for SNAP eligibility
The estimated increases to SNAP enrollment in 2020 may not actually come to pass, however. The trend of reduced enrollment may very well continue, and may even pick up the pace, thanks to action taken by the Trump administration.
The Trump administration recently announced that it would restore and enforce at the federal level previous congressionally-authorized work requirements for able-bodied, working-age adults with no children or dependents to remain eligible to receive SNAP benefits for more than three months within a three-year period.
A number of states have already imposed work requirements for SNAP recipients, which undoubtedly played a role in the overall decrease of participants in the food stamp program.
It is also worth noting that the proposed work requirements on the federal level could be waived by individual states and localities if warranted by certain economic conditions, such as high unemployment or a scarcity of available jobs.
Requirements start in April
Estimates suggest that the federal work requirements, which are scheduled to be implemented on April 1, could result in up to 755,000 more individuals dropping out of the SNAP program and would save taxpayers more than $1 billion per year. The requirements do not “apply to those who are over 50-years-old, pregnant, disabled, or caretakers for children,” according to Breitbart.
Of course, like virtually everything else done by the Trump administration, the work requirements rule change has been challenged in court, so it remains to be seen when/if the rule ever goes into effect, as well as how many states and localities obtain waivers from the requirements. Regardless, Trump’s booming economy, paired with welfare reform measures like the work requirements, are proving successful at reducing the number of Americans who require government assistance to get by, and that is an excellent thing.