Although Congress passed a law nearly four years ago to ensure lottery winners don’t continue to collect taxpayer-funded food stamps, little has been done to actually implement the new rule. On their way out the door, Obama officials finally proposed the necessary guidance for states to implement this provision — but the administration’s lame duck guidance serves to undermine the intent of the rule and trap more Americans in dependency. Thankfully, the Trump administration pushed pause on the new regulation before it could be implemented. It must now issue new guidance to protect resources for the truly needy.
The 2014 Farm Bill meant to end such abuse by ruling recipients of “substantial” lottery or gambling winnings ineligible for food stamps. However, the Obama administration delayed defining what constitutes “substantial” winnings and instructed states to not enforce the provision in the meantime. When it finally got around to implementing the new rules, it set the threshold ten times higher than the federal asset limit. And under the proposed rules, millionaire lottery winners could still come back into the program one month after being removed in most states.