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State and Local Government Law

Federalism

2021

Journal

Michigan Law Review

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Full-Text Articles in Law

Territorial Exceptionalism And The Americanwelfare State, Andrew Hammond Jun 2021

Territorial Exceptionalism And The Americanwelfare State, Andrew Hammond

Michigan Law Review

Federal law excludes millions of American citizens from crucial public benefits simply because they live in the United States territories. If the Social Security Administration determines a low-income individual has a disability, that person can move to another state and continue to receive benefits. But if that person moves to, say, Guam or the U.S. Virgin Islands, that person loses their right to federal aid. Similarly with SNAP (food stamps), federal spending rises with increased demand—whether because of a recession, a pandemic, or a climate disaster. But unlike the rest of the United States, Puerto Rico, the Northern Mariana Islands, …