Federal court blocks attempts on food assistance restrictions

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NEW YORK (WWTI) — A federal has blocked attempts to restrict food assistance programs in New York State.

New York Attorney General Letitia James announced that attempted restrictions to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program has been blocked. According to AG James, these attempted restrictions could have denied thousands of Americans from food assistance.

During the October 18 decision, Chief United States District Judge Beryl Howell noted that the attempts to restrict assistance would “‘dramatically alter the long-standing operations’ of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.”

“At a time of national crisis, this decision is a win for common sense and basic human decency,” said Attorney General James. “If implemented, this rule would have not only made it harder for thousands to feed their families and risk them going hungry, but would have exacerbated the public health crisis we face.”

According to James, the rule would have denied access to food assistance for more than 50,000 people in New York City, and tens of thousands more throughout New York State.

Starting in January 2020, Attorney General James and District of Columbia Attorney General Karl Racine filed a lawsuit against the United States Department of Agriculture. The lawsuit challenged the rule that would limit states ability to extend benefits from SNAP beyond a three-month period.

The rule original was to take effect on April 1, 2020, but a preliminary injunction set in March temporarily block the rule during litigation.

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