Food & Justice News Jan 21, 2020
- Opportunity to Comment on Proposed Trump Rules Making Disability Benefits Harder to Get
- Another Trump Proposal Would Weaken Standards for School Lunches: Or, “More Pizza, Less Vegetables”
Opportunity to Comment on Proposed Trump Rules Making Disability Benefits Harder to Get
President Trump’s administration has a new rule change proposal on disability benefits (including both Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance), which involve recipients having to prove their disability much more frequently than under current rules. Millions of new reviews would be conducted based on whether someone’s medical condition could possibly improve (as opposed to whether it would likely improve) and the new bureaucratic requirements could force thousands or hundreds of thousands off the rolls. The increased number of reviews alone would slow down the process. This could disproportionately harm older adults nearing retirement and is expected to cut SSI and SSDI benefits by $2.6 billion over the next 10 years more here.
It would also exacerbate the homeless crisis even further here in Southern California.
We have a chance to comment on those rules. The comments are submitted online and must be submitted by January 31. Here is the link to the official comment site:
Individuals can use this comment form from Community Legal Services of Philadelphia.
Some additional resources from our friends at Justice in Aging:
- If helpful for organizations, the Center for American Progress also has a simple comment form that is more tailored to organizations: https://www.americanprogress.org/ProtectDisabilityBenefits
- The information at the bottom of Matthew Cortland’s Patreon post (https://www.patreon.com/posts/32360088) may also be helpful to include in comments, addressing the question of why it would be difficult for people to go through disability reviews more often.
For those looking for lots of detail, NOSSCR submitted extensive comments opposing the proposed rule: https://nosscr.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/NOSSCR-comments-continuing-disability-reviews-FINAL.pdf
Another Trump Proposal Would Weaken Standards for School Lunches: Or, “More Pizza, Less Vegetables”
From the Guardian: “The Trump administration took further steps on Friday towards rolling back healthier standards for school lunches in America championed by Michelle Obama, proposing rules to allow more pizza, meat and potatoes over fresh vegetables, fruits and whole grains. The new proposals would allow schools more flexibility, the Department of Agriculture (USDA) said in a statement, adding: “Because they know their children best.”
One of the reasons for this is the potato lobby. Colin Schwartz, deputy director of legislative affairs for Center for Science in the Public Interest, “says the potato lobby has been pushing for this change, and that the potato industry was behind a change that happened quietly last March. The USDA allowed school food authorities participating in the School Breakfast Program to substitute potatoes in place of fruit without including vegetables from other subgroups in the weekly menus.”
Six states including California had already sued Sonny Perdue’s USDA over regulatory changes allowing more sodium and fewer whole grains, back in April 2019:
These changes come at a time when 25% of adolescents are living with prediabetes, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention
and, also according to the CDC, ” Obesity prevalence was 13.9% among 2- to 5-year-olds, 18.4% among 6- to 11-year-olds, and 20.6% among 12- to 19-year-olds. Childhood obesity is also more common among certain populations
Sonny Perdue, the secretary of Agriculture, is saying that kids aren’t eating the healthy food required under the Obama school lunch rules, and therefore aren’t getting the nutrition anyway. So, the logic goes, may as well give ‘em more sugar, white bread and French fries, which they will eat and further exacerbate their bad health. The first rule in medicine is supposedly “do no harm.”
It’s one thing if children aren’t eating as healthy as they should, but to have official government policy and taxpayer money go toward even removing their opportunity to eat better is just plain wicked.
As with many of the other changes that the Trump administration has proposed in SNAP, disability benefits, and immigration policy, the public will have a chance to comment on the proposed school meal changes, and on additional proposals affecting the free summer lunch program for kids. Stay tuned for an update soon with the link to the Federal Register.