Lawsuit targets Trump administration plan that could leave 26,000 San Diegans without food stamps

380,000 Californians at risk of losing benefits
Posted at 6:10 PM, Jan 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-16 21:40:03-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) -- California and 13 other states filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration Thursday, seeking to block changes to the federal food stamp program that would put 380,000 Californians at risk of losing benefits.

The lawsuit claims the Trump administration failed to follow proper procedure and is undermining the intent of the food stamp program, known in California as CalFresh.

"No one should have to choose between a hot meal and paying their rent," said California Attorney General Xavier Becerra in a statement. "But this latest Trump Administration attack on low-income Americans will force them to do just that."

RELATED: Thousands of San Diego senior citizens now eligible for food stamps

Beginning in April, able-bodied adults without children will be required to show documentation every 90 days that they are working at least 20 hours per week or in vocational training. Otherwise, those adults can only receive three months of food stamps every three years.

About 26,000 people in San Diego County would be impacted by the new rule, according to County Health & Human Services Agency spokeswoman Sarah Sweeney.

The Trump administration estimates the change would save about $5.5 billion over 5 years.

“These are taxpayer dollars and President Trump takes that very seriously,” said San Diego County Republican Party chairman Tony Krvaric. “Every dollar that is given to somebody who does not qualify, someone who is able-bodied, is taking resources away from somebody who actually truly need it.”

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Vince Hall of Feeding San Diego said the federal food stamp program is a proven success. He said veterans will be particularly vulnerable to the changes.

“Hunger is not going to motivate people who are already highly motivated, but it is going to disable their ability to find good productive jobs, to engage in meaningful job training programs,” he said. “Hunger is debilitating not empowering.”

Hall said the cost of verifying people’s work requirements will likely exceed the cost of the food stamps themselves. The average recipient collects about $140 a month, he said.