Assistant Professor of Interdisciplinary Studies Maggie Dickinson’s article about the consequences of cutting SNAP benefits for families has been published in The Atlantic. “The Ripple Effects of Taking SNAP Benefits From One Person” discusses the Trump administration’s new rule that will take away food assistance benefits from nearly 700,000 people. It makes it harder for states to waive the federal program’s work requirements in areas of high unemployment, and targets able-bodied adults without dependents.
Drawing from her professional experience as a researchers and running a food-stamp outreach program in a food pantry and soup kitchen in Brooklyn, Professor Dickinson argues that the rule will affect not only the trageted individuals, but their families as well. “The issues I saw in New York will play out nationally under the new cuts, and the Trump administration’s stated rationale—that able-bodied unemployed SNAP recipients should find jobs instead of depending on the government—obscures these consequences. It gives the impression that the program has to be protected from lazy, unemployed freeloaders while ignoring, say, the people caring for an elderly parent while out of work and the dads who are looking for work but still trying to make sure their kids have something to eat,” Dickinson writes.
The policy, Dickinson writes, ignores the variety of “supportive family arrangements that exist across households and generations, particularly in low-income and queer communities. In this case, the result is more hunger and hardship for the members of low-income families who are doing their best to make sure everyone is cared for.”