header image

[Sign Up Now] to Receive Our FREE Daily SCVTV-SCVNews Digest by E-Mail

Inside
Weather


 
Calendar
Today in
S.C.V. History
June 25
1859 - Outlaw Tiburcio Vasquez escapes from prison while serving sentence for grand larceny in SCV area; recaptured in August and sent to San Quentin [story]
Tiburcio Vasquez


SAN FRANCISCO — Two food stamp recipients slapped the U.S. Department of Agriculture with a federal class action Thursday, claiming the Trump administration is defying the will of Congress by denying extra emergency food stamps to low-income Californians.

The lawsuit claims the USDA is wrongly capping food stamps at the monthly maximum of $194 per person in California. That equates to about $6.38 per day or about $2 per meal. The lawsuit says Congress intended eligible Californians to receive an extra $60 per month in emergency aid.

“USDA is denying emergency food assistance to those who need it the most in the midst of this unparalleled economic and health catastrophe,” the 20-page complaint states.

Plaintiffs Robin Hall and Steven Summers say Congress set aside extra money for food stamps in the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, signed into law March 18. They say the law requires the USDA to approve state requests for extra Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, commonly called food stamps.

On March 20, the USDA issued a template for states to request extra food stamp allotments, stating the request would “bring all households up to the maximum benefit” for two months. The department then issued a memorandum on April 10 saying the law gives it discretion in approving requests for extra benefits.

On March 25, the California Department of Social Services (CDSS) submitted its request for extra emergency food stamp benefits. In that request letter, the state’s CalFresh and Nutrition czar Alexis Fernandez said the state disagrees with the USDA’s interpretation that households can only receive extra food stamps up to the maximum benefit amount based on household size.

“CDSS finds this interpretation to be in conflict with both the plain language of the act and the circumstances leading to the passage of the act,” Fernandez wrote.

Fernandez added that capping benefits in the way the USDA has prescribed would go against the law’s intent to “alleviate the negative impacts caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.” She said it would “leave the most vulnerable households who have the least resources without any increase in SNAP benefits, as many are already receiving the maximum monthly benefit allotment.”

On March 26, the USDA rejected California’s request, finding it was “not aligned” with the department’s guidance.

The state submitted a revised request on March 27 and ultimately received an extra $253.6 million per month in emergency food stamps benefits for 2.1 million households.

About 4.1 million Californians living in about 2 million households receive food stamp benefits, according to the lawsuit and a 2018 report by the nonpartisan Public Policy Institute of California.

On May 4, the state reported that 1.1 million households received extra emergency food stamps, meaning more than 1 million households were deemed ineligible for extra benefits.

The two named plaintiffs who sued on behalf of all food stamp recipients in California have conditions that make them particularly vulnerable.

Hall is a 45-year-old woman living in transitional housing in Santa Rosa. She suffers from Type 2 diabetes and congestive heart failure. A monthly allotment of $194 in food stamps is her only income, and the charities where she used to get free meals have closed or restricted hours due to the pandemic. She also fears going to the soup kitchen due to the risk of Covid-19 infection, according to the complaint.

Summers is 64-year-old who lives in a rent-controlled studio apartment in Oakland. His only income is $194 per month in food stamps, less $10 each month due to an earlier over-issuance of benefits. The free groceries he used to get from the food pantry now come in pre-selected boxes with fewer fruits and vegetables. In recent weeks, he has depleted his monthly benefits more quickly due to rising grocery store prices and limited supply of lower-price foods. He has also had to stop visiting multiple stores to find the lowest price foods to reduce his risk of infection, according to the lawsuit.

Neither Summers nor Hall are eligible to receive extra food stamps under the USDA’s interpretation of the law.

Summers and Hall seek an injunction requiring the USDA to provide extra emergency food stamp benefits to all eligible Californians beyond the maximum allotment. They are represented by Lindsay Nako of Impact Fund in Berkeley and Alexander Prieto of Western Center on Law and Poverty in Los Angeles.

The USDA did not immediately return an email requesting comment.

— By Nicholas Iovino

Read the complete complaint below.

[Open .pdf in new window]

Comment On This Story
COMMENT POLICY: We welcome comments from individuals and businesses. All comments are moderated. Comments are subject to rejection if they are vulgar, combative, or in poor taste.
REAL NAMES ONLY: All posters must use their real individual or business name. This applies equally to Twitter account holders who use a nickname.

0 Comments

You can be the first one to leave a comment.

Leave a Comment


SCV NewsBreak
LOCAL NEWS HEADLINES
Monday, Jun 24, 2024
July 26-28: LEAP Children’s Museum Hosting Pop-Up Event
A new nonprofit initiative in Santa Clarita is laying the foundation for a groundbreaking Children's Museum.
Monday, Jun 24, 2024
SCV Senior Center Announces $5.1M Cut to Nutrition Budget
The SCV Senior Center was recently informed that their Nutrition Budget - “Meals for Seniors” for Fiscal Year starting July 1, 2024, will be cut by $5.1 million dollars.
Monday, Jun 24, 2024
Santa Clarita Native Jeremy Bischoff to Compete in Olympic Trials
Jeremy Bischoff, a Santa Clarita native and a member of the USA Gymnastics National Team for five years, will compete for a spot in the 2024 Summer Olympic Games this week. Bischoff, a 2020 graduate of Canyon High School/Learning Post Academy, will compete in the U.S. Olympic Trials June 27-June 30 in Minneapolis.
Keep Up With Our Facebook

Latest Additions to SCVNews.com
1859 - Outlaw Tiburcio Vasquez escapes from prison while serving sentence for grand larceny in SCV area; recaptured in August and sent to San Quentin [story]
Tiburcio Vasquez
The 2023-2024 school year has come to a close and along with it a very successful year of high school athletics.
CIF-SS Commissioner Mike West | Year in Review
The Castaic Union School District Governing Board will hold its regular meeting Thursday, June 27, at 6 p.m.
June 27: Castaic Union Expected to Adopt 2024-2025 Budget
The regular meeting of the Saugus Union School District Governing Board will take place Tuesday, June 25, with closed session beginning at 5 p.m., followed immediately by public session at 6:40 p.m.
June 25: Saugus Union School District Regular Board Meeting
A new nonprofit initiative in Santa Clarita is laying the foundation for a groundbreaking Children's Museum.
July 26-28: LEAP Children’s Museum Hosting Pop-Up Event
The SCV Senior Center was recently informed that their Nutrition Budget - “Meals for Seniors” for Fiscal Year starting July 1, 2024, will be cut by $5.1 million dollars.
SCV Senior Center Announces $5.1M Cut to Nutrition Budget
I know I speak for everyone when I say the passing of firefighter Andrew Pontious in the line of duty just one week ago was heartbreaking.
Kathryn Barger | Fighting Fires
Jeremy Bischoff, a Santa Clarita native and a member of the USA Gymnastics National Team for five years, will compete for a spot in the 2024 Summer Olympic Games this week. Bischoff, a 2020 graduate of Canyon High School/Learning Post Academy, will compete in the U.S. Olympic Trials June 27-June 30 in Minneapolis.
Santa Clarita Native Jeremy Bischoff to Compete in Olympic Trials
The Zonta Club of Santa Clarita Valley invites the community to celebrate its 50 years of improving lives of women and girls globally and in the SCV with a glittering disco gala at The Oaks Club, Valencia, on Saturday night, Sept. 14
‘Studio 74’ Coming to Zonta SCV’s Golden Anniversary Celebration
In celebration of its 20th anniversary, the Santa Clarita Performing Arts Center (PAC) Spotlight Series will feature a diverse lineup of talented musicians and performers, as well as family-friendly events as part of its programming.  
PAC Announces 2024-2025 Spotlight Series
The city of Santa Clarita’s Film Office has released the list of seven productions currently filming in the Santa Clarita Valley for the week of Monday, June 24 - Sunday, June 30.
Seven Productions Filming in Santa Clarita
Eleven additional athletes claimed spots on the 2024 Paris Olympic Team, including Saugus High School alumna Abbey Weitzeil, on night eight of the U.S. Olympic Team Trials Swimming presented by Lilly, in Indianapolis, Ind.
Santa Clarita’s Abbey Weitzeil Qualifies for Paris Olympic Team
As a city manager, father and community member — the safety of Santa Clarita residents will always be my top priority - especially on the roads.
Ken Striplin | Enhancing Safety, Efficiency in Our Community
The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department is set to roll out a fresh, data-oriented strategy aimed at curtailing crime throughout L.A. County.
LASD Rolls Out New Crime Strategy Unit
1980 - Saugus Train Station relocated to Hart Park, Newhall [story]
Saugus Train Station
1946, 11:20pm: William S. Hart, 81, dies at L.A.'s California Lutheran Hospital, leaving his Newhall estate and his (now West) Hollywood home to the public [story]
Hart dies
1972 - Vasquez Rocks added to National Register of Historic Places [list]
Vasquez Rocks
Los Angeles County Supervisor Kathryn Barger and Board of Supervisors Chair Lindsey Horvath have sent an open letter to Governor Gavin Newsom urging him to continue funding the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitations hand crews who currently help the Los Angeles County Fire Department tackle wildland fires.
Supes Urge Newsom Not to Cut L.A. County Inmate Firefighting Crews
Give the gift of life, an upcoming blood drive is scheduled for Friday, June 28, from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., at The Centre, 20880 Centre Pointe Parkway, Santa Clarita, CA 91350. The blood drive will be held in Cedar Hall.
June 28: City Hosts Blood Drive at The Centre
The city of Santa Clarita invites local schools and nonprofits to submit a proposal outlining a project that can benefit from volunteer support as part of Make A Difference Day on Saturday, Oct. 26.
Santa Clarita Now Accepting Project Proposals for Make A Difference Day
The Santa Clarita City Council will hold a regular meeting on Tuesday, June 25 at 6 p.m. that includes a host of issues including assessments, taxes, fees and budgets in addition to continued hearings on the Town Center Specific Plan.
June 25: City Council Meets on Open Space, Budget, Town Center Specific Plan
Part of the Summer Theatre Festival by Santa Clarita Shakespeare, "An Evening of Absurdity" will run July 12-21 at the MAIN, 24266 Main Street., Newhall, CA 91321.
The MAIN Presents ‘An Evening of Absurdity’
The city of Santa Clarita has issued a traffic advisory for daytime lane closures at Copper Hill and Rio Norte Drive beginning Monday, June 24.
June 24: Traffic Advisory Lane Closures Copper Hill/Rio Norte Drive
Santa Clarita will celebrate this year's Fourth of July with the Santa Clarita Valley Rotary Club's pancake breakfast, Santa Clarita Valley Parade Committee's Fourth of July Parade and city of Santa Clarita fireworks show.
Fourth of July Events in Santa Clarita
SCVNews.com