44,000 Mainers could lose food assistance under a new proposal

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AUGUSTA, Maine (WABI) - 44,000 Mainers could lose food assistance under a new proposal.

Pixabay / MGN

Maine DHHS says a rule change proposed by the White House would result in that.

The department estimates nearly half would be children, seniors and people with disabilities.

Governor Mills joined governors from 16 other states in sending a letter to the U.S. Department of Agriculture secretary in opposition to the plan.

Families with incomes near the eligibility line would lose benefits if they experience even a small increase in wages.

And, it would impact older people on fixed incomes who accumulate modest savings.

We've reached out to Maine's delegation about this.

We've heard back from spokespeople from Senator Susan Collins and Angus King's office who say they are both opposed to the proposal.

Senator Collins released the following statement Thursday night:

“I’m opposed to this proposal that would add needless bureaucratic requirements to a program that is essential in the fight against hunger. I am particularly concerned that it would disproportionately harm children and seniors. Congress has blocked attempts to drastically curtail eligibility in the past, and I will work with my colleagues to ensure this vital program continues to support the nutrition of vulnerable individuals.”

Congresswoman Chellie Pingree also released a statement:

“The Trump administration clearly does not understand that for millions of people SNAP is a lifeline. At a time when one in five children in Maine does not have enough to eat, the loss of food assistance and automatic enrollment in reduced school meal programs would be devastating. This misguided rule ignores the complexities of food insecurity and will punish millions of people living on the poverty line.”