MONTPELIER – Attorney General T.J. Donovan announced Monday that the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia has enjoined the Trump administration from unlawfully cutting Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, known in Vermont as 3SquaresVT. In the lawsuit, a coalition of 20 states and New York City challenged a new U.S. Department of Agriculture rule that would have pushed nearly 700,000 struggling Americans, including 200 Vermont families, out of the SNAP program. The rule was scheduled to go into effect on April 1, 2020. The preliminary injunction will allow states flexibility in determining when negative economic conditions require extending SNAP benefits for single adults past the program’s three-month limit.

“This is especially good news, given the challenges many Vermont families are facing in light of the COVID-19 crisis,” said Attorney General Donovan. “I will never stop fighting for Vermont families in need of a hand up.”

The court’s opinion states in part, “Especially now, as a global pandemic poses widespread health risks, guaranteeing that government officials at both the federal and state levels have flexibility to address the nutritional needs of residents and ensure their well-being through programs like SNAP, is essential.”

Along with Vermont, the coalition includes the Attorneys General of the District of Columbia, New York, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Virginia, as well as the City of New York.

A copy of the order granting the motion for preliminary injunction is available at https://ago.vermont.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Order-Granting-Motion-PI-SNAP-ABAWD-Rule.pdf. A copy of the full opinion is available at https://ago.vermont.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Opinion-Enjoining-SNAP-ABAWD-Rule.pdf.

For more information, including how to apply for 3SquaresVT, visit 3SquareVT’s website here: https://dcf.vermont.gov/benefits/3SquaresVT.

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