In this Friday, March 17, 2017, file photo, a sign advertises a program that allows food stamp recipients to use their EBT cards to shop at a farmer's market in Topsham, Maine. President Donald Trump’s administration is proposing to end an option that has allowed states to exceed federal eligibility thresholds for food stamps. Credit: Robert F. Bukaty | AP

Officials from the Maine Department of Health and Human Services say more than 44,000 Mainers would lose food assistance under a rule change proposed by the administration of President Donald Trump in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, also known as food stamps.

That’s more than a quarter of all SNAP recipients in the state. DHHS says nearly half of those are children, older Mainers and people with disabilities.

State officials say the Trump administration plan would essentially eliminate a program in which states enroll eligible applicants in SNAP if they qualify for other benefits such as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families. The program is important, DHHS said, because it gives states flexibility to coordinate SNAP with other public assistance programs.

The state says the Trump administration plan would also jeopardize meals for schoolchildren by eliminating automatic enrollment of children in SNAP families in free and reduced cost school meal programs.

Gov. Janet Mills and 16 other governors have sent a letter to U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue opposing the proposal.

This article appears through a media partnership with Maine Public.