Recipients Fear Cuts to Food Stamps and Disability Aid in Trump Budget


JACKSON, Miss. — Hoyt Cantrell drove a truck for more than 20 years before seizures — 23 of them since 2009 — cost him his livelihood. His two-bedroom house in the heart of this Southern state capital is partly boarded up, with no running water or electricity, but he cannot afford much better.

He has tried hard to qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance and food stamps. So far, he has failed.

To President Trump, people like Mr. Cantrell are the exceptions in the expanding world of American poverty. In the view of his administration, access to food stamps is far too easy, and being on disability is just a matter of finding a friendly judge.

The budget that the president has proposed for the coming fiscal year would expand a work requirement for “able-bodied” adults receiving help from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, known as food stamps, slicing $192 billion over 10 years. He would also trim $70 billion from Social Security’s disability program by tightening access.

“We need people to go to work,” said Mick Mulvaney, the White House’s budget director and the proposal’s chief architect. “If you’re on food stamps, and you’re able-bodied, we need you to go to work. If you’re on disability insurance, and you’re not supposed to be — if you’re not truly disabled, we need you to go back to work. We need everybody pulling in the same direction.”