KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -- Three million people could lose their access to food stamps if a new rule is adopted. The agriculture secretary said the department is closing a loophole.

Food assistance programs are used widely across the nation. About 36 million people received help in April of this year.

To save an estimated $9.4 billion, the USDA is proposing a cut. Through a proposed change in automatic eligibility, 1.7 million households adding up to 3.1 million people will no longer qualify.

“A lot of people will be struggling. A lot of people will have to find a way. Maybe pantries, but there’s not enough of those to go around,” Neshia Rodgers, mother of three kids, said.

In a phone conference Monday night, the U.S. Agriculture Secretary said a Minnesota millionaire applied for assistance and got it. This is why he’s saying there’s a loophole in need of fixing.

Rodgers said her needs, like many others, are extreme.

“It allows us food to last us through the month. Without it, we wouldn’t have enough food,” Rodgers said. “I wouldn’t know how to make ends meet, how to feed my kids.”

Rodgers said being able to use food assistance programs keeps her family out of harm’s way.

“Food stamps helps people in tough situations from even having to steal or crazy things just to get it,” Rodgers said.

To qualify for automatic eligibility, which is the sticking point in these changes, recipients have to get at least $50 a month from assistance programs for a minimum of six months.

The comment period on the proposed change is open for 60 days.

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