200,000 FL Students Could Lose Free Lunches Under New SNAP Rules

(AP Photo/Mary Esch, File)

Florida education officials say about 200,000 students statewide could become ineligible for automatic free school lunches under the Trump administration’s plan to reduce the number of people enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), also known as the food stamp program.

Presently, children automatically qualify for a free daily lunch if their families receive food stamps.

The revised plan, which was finalized Wednesday and is set to take effect April 1, 2020, would restrict SNAP enrollment by removing states’ ability to change income and asset limits for households that receive food stamps in addition to other welfare benefits.

In Florida, the Department of Children and Families’ threshold for SNAP qualification currently allows households with incomes that are up to 200 percent of the poverty level to receive food stamps.

Nationally, nearly one-million students could be affected, according to a recent report from the U.S. Agriculture Department.

Sources say impacted Florida households would still be eligible to receive free- and reduced-price meals if they individually file an application for the National School Lunch Program.

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