[NOTE: An earlier version of this story featured an undercount of how many Minnesotans are receiving SNAP benefits. The story below features the corrected numbers.]
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The Trump administration is proposing new rules that could kick thousands of Minnesotans off SNAP food assistance benefits.
The administration says the program has loopholes that allowed a Minnesota millionaire to receive benefits.
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program — known as Food Stamps — is a staple for tens of thousands of Minnesota families who fall on hard times.
Minnesota is one of 34 states that does not require asset testing to get SNAP benefits, at one time called food stamps.
So lawmakers were shocked when this self-described millionaire testified exactly what the Trump administration is talking about. He said he applied for — and got — food assistance even though he had a beautiful house and a big 401K.
“I’m here because I think the state of Minnesota should not give food stamps to millionaires and high net worth individuals,” Waite Park resident Rob Undersander said.
The number of people receiving SNAP benefits goes up during recessions, and down when the economy is good.
In May, for example, 384,267 Minnesotans got food assistance. The average monthly benefit is $137.73 — that’s about $1.22 per meal.
Hundreds of farm families in 75 counties who receive food benefits could be affected. They have a lot of property, but very little income.
The Department of Human Services says it has not yet calculated how new rules will affect Minnesota.