DCF sounds alarm over proposed 3SquaresVT eligibility changes

WATERBURY, Vt. (WCAX) Vermont officials say they expect thousands of households could lose food stamp benefits under a proposed rule change to the federal governments Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP.

The Trump administration wants to change the way states determine who qualifies for SNAP benefits to save money and close what they call a loophole in the program that allows some states to give benefits to those who would not otherwise be eligible.

The Department for Children and Families says about 5,200 household could lose 3SquaresVT benefits. That's about 13 percent of the programs current caseloads. The changes would also affect the eligibility of 4,500 children that receive free and reduced meals through the National School Breakfast and Lunch Programs. Households with children that are eligible for 3SquaresVT are automatically enrolled in these programs.

The student data is also used for eligibility in other programs which could be negatively impacted such as E-rate programs for school and library technology, student loan forgiveness for teachers in low income schools, summer and afterschool meal sites for children/youth ages 0-18, and the Fresh Fruit and Veggie Grant Program for low income elementary schools.

Households with children who lose their 3SquaresVT eligibility may still qualify for these meal programs through an application and income assessment. DCF plans to issue opposition comments to these proposed rule changes for SNAP.

Comments for the SNAP rule changes are due September 23.