Published: Thu, December 05, 2019
Electronics | By Kelly Massey

Trump Administration Tightens Food Stamp Work Requirements

Trump Administration Tightens Food Stamp Work Requirements

"This rule lays the groundwork for the expectation that able-bodied Americans re-enter the workforce where there are now more job openings than people to fill them".

The final rule will limit the ability of states to exempt work-eligible adults from having to obtain steady employment in order to receive benefits through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

"States are seeking waivers for wide swaths of their population [s], and millions of people who could work are continuing to receive SNAP benefits", he told reporters. Under current law, adults without dependents can get SNAP benefits for three months out of a three-year period, but some states have issued waivers to allow for individuals to continue to receive benefits. NY would have one of the biggest reductions, along with Vermont, South Dakota and Maine.

The changes will move more "able-bodied" adults into the workplace, said US Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue. But states with high unemployment rates or a demonstrable lack of sufficient jobs can waive those time limits.

The Agriculture Department estimates the change would save roughly $5.5 billion over five years and cut benefits for roughly 688,000 SNAP recipients.

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Currently, states can waive the work requirement for areas where unemployment is at least 10% or there is an insufficient number of jobs, as defined by the Department of Labor.

"For able-bodied adults without dependents, US law limits SNAP benefits to three months, unless recipients are working or in training for 20 hours a week", the Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday.

The recipients affected by the new rule are among the poorest of the poor, with an average income of just 18% of the poverty line, or about $2,250 a year, said Robert Greenstein, president of the left-leaning Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson also considered a proposal that would have tripled rents for the poorest Americans and allowed local governments to implement work requirements on those receiving housing assistance, but ultimately backed off the plan.

Rep. Jeff Van Drew, D-2nd Dist., said he would move to overturn the food stamp rule under the Congressional Review Act, which gives lawmakers the power to reject new federal regulations.

"Denying them basic food and nutrition is not the route that a fair and compassionate administration of either party should take", he said in a statement.

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