Naples, FL — Today, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced a new rule that will close welfare loopholes and standardize federal welfare eligibility rules.
The Clinton and Obama administrations created and expanded the broad-based categorical eligibility (BBCE) loophole to extend food stamps to any individual “authorized to receive” a welfare brochure, meaning states don’t have to check those enrollees’ eligibility for food stamps. The results have been disastrous. More than five million people who don’t meet federal eligibility criteria for food stamps are now on the program due to this loophole—including millionaires with income or assets far above the federal limit.
The new rule cracks down on this abuse and restores categorical eligibility to its original purpose. Under the new rule, only those who actually receive benefits from other welfare programs will be eligible for this exemption.
“We need to make sure our welfare programs can effectively serve the truly needy, and this new rule does just that,” said Kristina Rasmussen, vice president of federal affairs at the Foundation for Government Accountability (FGA). “If we can’t accurately and effectively check the eligibility of those who are signing up for benefits, we end up with a system that fails to serve the truly needy individuals it was designed to help.”
Last December, FGA published research that explored how ending broad-based categorical eligibility would protect welfare benefits for the truly needy. View the full report here.
The Foundation for Government Accountability is a non-profit, multi-state think tank that specializes in health care, welfare, and work reform. To learn more, visit TheFGA.org.