Bread for the City wins lawsuit in SNAP ABAWD case against Trump Administration
October 19, 2020 by BFC in Legal Clinic Public Benefits
Washington, DC – Bread for the City won a recent lawsuit against the Trump Administration, barring the implementation of a harmful change in the Agriculture Department’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), commonly known as Food Stamps, that would cut more than 13,000 DC residents and 700,000 individuals nationally from relief. This lawsuit was filed by The Legal Aid Society of DC and the law firm Alston & Bird LLP on behalf of Bread for the City and residents of D.C. who receive food stamps. In March, the District Court issued a decision that temporarily stopped the government from implementing its new restrictions. Yesterday, the Court issued a final decision on a summary judgment motion in our favor.
Bread for the City is on the frontlines every day advocating for residents in our communities who are experiencing poverty, many of whom rely on SNAP. This ruling supports those who are in need, especially as they also contend with the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic. Bread for the City is committed to our mission and through necessary direct and legal action, provides a voice for the families and individuals in underserved communities in DC.
“Bread for the City is extremely proud to have been a plaintiff in a lawsuit that received such a sweeping SNAP victory. During these difficult times, this decision is great news for the residents we serve in DC, and the millions of Black, brown, and other food insecure people throughout our country, who would have been hurt by such drastic cuts to an essential program,” said George A. Jones, Chief Executive Officer of Bread for the City.
This new program restriction could have increased food insecurity, poverty, and housing insecurity conditions of living on a low income which Bread for the City fights each day. During a time of great need for our community members, access to benefits that reduce food insecurity should be broadened, not limited. Bread for the City’s half-century of providing services to those in need in DC has taught us that when restrictions are unnecessarily placed on access to benefits, not only does it create challenges for individuals, families, and communities, but also for agencies like ours that provide resources for those making ends meet. Approximately 110,000 D.C. residents received SNAP benefits in the Fiscal Year 2019, of which 14,500 are Able Bodied Adult Without Dependents (ABAWD) – the target group of increased restrictions stuck down through this ruling. In finding the Trump Administration’s attempt to cut people from SNAP benefits “arbitrary and capricious”, Chief U.S. District Judge Beryl A. Howell highlighted a 17% national increase to those receiving SNAP during the pandemic-impacted months of 2020 while at Bread for the City, we have experienced a 400% increase to the number of households receiving groceries from our food pantry program. This ruling was just another example of the Trump Administration’s efforts to undermine the safety-net that serves as a lifeline for housing, health care, and nutrition for millions of low-income Americans.
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