On December 4, the United States Department of Agriculture and the Trump Administration finalized their rule on SNAP time limit waivers. The rule restricts states’ flexibility to waive SNAP’s three-month time limit in areas with insufficient jobs and will take basic food assistance from 700,000 Americans including 10,100 West Virginians who struggle to find steady work.

The rule’s impacts could be even more severe in future recessions or economic downturns. Under the rule change, states experiencing sharp increases in unemployment could lose their ability to waive time limits.  In West Virginia, we’ve seen firsthand that these policies do nothing to help struggling people find work. Instead, they increase food insecurity and strain our food banks and pantries.

This rule reflects the Trump Administration’s larger desire to defy Congressional intent and chip away at the safety net. Just this year, the Administration has proposed three separate rules that would take SNAP away from those who need it. If all three rules are implemented, over 38,000 West Virginians will lose critical food assistance.

For more on the local impact of this damaging rule, read or listen to coverage from West Virginia Public Broadcasting and its interview with Policy Outreach Director Seth DiStefano.