Click here to view original web page at Food stamp change fuels anxiety as states try to curb impact
CHICAGO — Having food stamps offers Richard Butler a stability he’s rarely known in his 25 years. He was in state custody at age 2, spent his teen years at a Chicago boys’ home and jail for burglary, and has since struggled to find a permanent home.
The $194 deposited monthly on his benefits card buys fresh produce and meat.
“It means the world to me,” said Butler, who shares a one-bedroom apartment with two others. “We can go without a lot of things, like phones and music. We can’t go without eating.”
But that stability is being threatened for people like Butler, who are able-bodied, without dependents and between the ages 18 and 49. New Trump administration rules taking effect April 1 put hundreds of thousands of people in his situation at risk of losing their benefits. They hit particularly hard in places like Illinois, which also is dealing with a separate, similar change in the nation’s third-largest city.
From Hawaii to Pennsylvania, states are scrambling to blunt the impact of the new rules, with roughly 700,000 people at risk of losing benefits unless they meet certain work, training or school requirements. They’ve filed a multi-state lawsuit, expanded publicly funded job training, developed pilot programs and doubled down efforts to reach vulnerable communities, including the homeless, rural residents and people of color.
Social service agencies say they won’t be able to fill the gap, making increased homelessness and more hospital visits among the biggest concerns. Experts say they’ve already seen troubling signs in […]