The SPLC today urged the Trump administration not to pursue a proposal that would cause millions of low-income people to lose assistance from programs that help them meet basic needs.
A proposal from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) would reduce the federal poverty level – an income threshold used to determine who is eligible for many federal, state and local government programs. Under the plan, people who are already struggling to care for themselves would lose eligibility for – or receive less help from – programs that provide funding for health care, food, education, and supports for farmworkers, among other assistance, the SPLC wrote in a letter addressed to OMB Chief Statistician Nancy Potok.
“Our clients do not earn enough money to purchase basic necessities, including health insurance, rent, transportation, groceries, and other necessities for survival. Many face additional burdens of navigating education systems so underfunded that some students are asked to bring their own toilet paper, or an immigration system so broken that families live with the constant worry of separation and deportation,” the letter states. “Furthermore, we know that households just above the federal poverty level report higher-than-average rates of food insecurity, difficulty paying rent and utilities, and are more likely to be uninsured – suggesting that the federal poverty level is already too low.”
The proposed changes from the OMB “would only increase the hardships for people, and their families, who earn low wages,” the letter states.
The SPLC urged the OMB to focus on improving the economic stability of low-income people across the South and the nation, instead of reducing their eligibility for programs that help them.