Govt. Considers Making Felons And Lottery Winners Ineligible for Food Stamps


Major changes could be coming soon for two groups of people receiving food stamps — certain convicted criminals and winners of large lottery prizes.

On Thursday, the Department of Agriculture published a series of proposed rules that would enforce laws passed by Congress nearly three years ago.

The last farm bill, signed into law on Feb. 7, 2014, authorized federal spending for the welfare program and prohibited both serious felons and substantial lottery winners from receiving benefits under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, according to the proposed rules.

Section 4008 of the bill prohibited anyone convicted of federal aggravated sexual abuse, murder, sexual exploitation and abuse of children, sexual assault, or similar offenses under state laws, as well as those who are not in compliance with the terms of their sentence or parole or are fleeing felons, from receiving food stamps.

Existing rules already prohibited “fleeing felons and probation or parole violators from obtaining SNAP benefits,” but now anyone convicted as an adult of murder or aggravated sexual assault will also be barred from receiving food stamps, The Daily Caller reported.

Section 4009 prohibited households containing a member with substantial lottery and gambling winnings from receiving food stamps until the household met the allowable financial resources and income eligibility requirements of the program.

The “substantial lottery and gambling winnings” must amount to $25,000 or more from the lottery before taxes in order to render the household ineligible for SNAP benefits, according to The Daily Caller.

In addition to these major updates, the proposed rules also mandated that each state have a system in place to verify the immigration status and income of anyone who applies for food stamps.

States currently have the option of using verification systems to determine SNAP eligibility, but the new rules — if enacted — would require each state agency to create an automated system for checking applicants’ requirements.

More than 44 million Americans were reportedly receiving food stamps as of Nov. 10, 2016, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture data.

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