BALTIMORE, January 22, 2020 — Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh today joined a group of 15 attorneys general and New York City in filing a lawsuit to prevent the Trump administration from implementing a Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) rule change that would take food off the tables of nearly 30,000 Marylanders and 700,000 people across the nation, many of whom struggle to find sufficient hours of work in areas with few jobs. The rule is scheduled to be implemented on April 1, 2020. The litigation asks the court to find the rule unlawful and to issue an injunction to prevent it from taking effect.
“Maryland Hunger Solutions strongly applauds the efforts of Attorney General Frosh to prevent USDA from sidestepping Congress, ignoring the great weight of public opinion, and taking food away from people who are struggling to find stable employment,” said Michael J. Wilson, director of Maryland Hunger Solutions. “The final rule would cause serious harm to individuals and communities across the state, from Western Maryland to Baltimore City to the Eastern Shore.”
The litigation, filed in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, alleges that the rule undermines Congressional intent, violated the federal rulemaking process, would impose significant regulatory burdens on states, and would harm states’ residents and economies and result in more food insecurity for those who already are experiencing poverty.
In 1996 Congress enacted a time limit of three months within a 36-month period on SNAP benefits for so-called able-bodied adults without dependents (ABAWDs) who do not document 80 hours of work or other qualifying activities each month. Congress, however, allowed states to seek waivers of the time limit for those residing in areas with high unemployment or insufficient jobs. Congress maintained the waivers in the 2018 Farm Bill. USDA’s new final rule would eliminate or restrict many of the criteria upon which Maryland and other states can rely when applying for a waiver of the ABAWD time limit.
Attorney General Frosh joins the attorneys general from California, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New York State, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Virginia, along with New York City. The complaint is available at https://oag.dc.gov/sites/default/files/2020-01/SNAP-Complaint.pdf
Maryland Hunger Solutions works to end hunger and improve the nutrition, health, and well-being of children and families in Maryland.