The Trump administration Wednesday announced it is tightening work requirements for some food stamp recipients, affecting about 688,000 people who currently benefit from the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program, known as SNAP.
The finalized rule, which will take effect in April, will make it harder for states to exempt adults without dependents from work requirements. Under federal law, able-bodied adults ages 18 to 49 can receive food stamps for no more than three months in a 36-month period unless they are working or participating in a training program at least 80 hours a month or volunteering at least six hours a week.
But states can waive the requirements during economic downturns. Previously, counties with unemployment rates of 2.5% or higher were eligible for the state waivers. Under the new rule, announced by U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, the minimum rate is 6%.
“States are seeking waivers for a wide swath of their populations,” Perdue said in a call with reporters. “We’re taking action to reform our program, to restore the dignity of work to a sizable part of our population.”
Perdue said Trump’s policies have “unleashed a booming economy” resulting in “more job openings than people to fill those jobs.”
Perdue pointed out that the unemployment rate was 4% and 17 million Americans received SNAP benefits in 2000; but with the current 3.6% unemployment rate, more than 36 million do.
The rule would lead to higher rates of hunger and poverty, said James Weill, president of the Food Research and Action Center, a group based in Washington, D.C., that advocates against hunger.
“The final rule would cause serious harm to individuals, communities, and the nation while doing nothing to improve the health and employment of those impacted by the rule,” he said in a statement. “In addition, the rule would harm the economy, grocery retailers, agricultural producers, and communities by reducing the amount of SNAP dollars available to spur local economic activity.”
The new rule does not apply to children and their parents, people over age 50, people with a disability or pregnant women.
It’s the first of three proposed changes to the SNAP program. The other two would cap deductions for utility allowances when calculating family incomes and change the way some states automatically enroll low-income families in SNAP when they receive other federal aid.
The rule announced Wednesday would save taxpayers about $5.5 billion over five years, said Brandon Lipps, deputy under secretary for the USDA’s Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services in a call with reporters.
Originally, the USDA estimated 750,000 people could lose their benefits under the rule change. Lipps said the agency now estimates that 688,000 would be dropped from the rolls.
A November study by the Urban Institute, a nonpartisan think tank based in Washington, estimated that if all three rule changes are implemented, 3.7 million fewer people and 2.1 million fewer households would receive SNAP, and annual benefits would decrease by $4.2 billion.
Lawmakers late last year reached a bipartisan compromise on the farm bill that excluded work requirements for food stamp recipients.
–Teresa Wiltz, Stateline
The Realist says
God forbid able bodied “poorer people” would have a work requirement to get their food. Isn’t that what all rest of us have to do already? The government needs to bring back the WPA and at least get some production out of the able bodied “poorer people”. For those of you that are unfamiliar with the WPA it was actually created by a democrat. Democrats actually encouraged work for pay between the eras of being the pro slavery party and currently being the party of socialism.
Huge tax cuts for his rich friends…cuts food stamps to “save the country money”. It’s not just urban inner city poor people getting effected by this . There are war veterans, handicap people and elderly. How do you think we are paying for Trumps tax cuts for the wealthy? Meanwhile they give many billions in aid to Israel every year. Strange priorities!
“Under federal law, able-bodied adults ages 18 to 49”
Looks like handicap people and elderly will be fine. If war vets are “able-bodied” then they probably should work too.
Looking to squeeze more wage slaves.
Bill Nelson says
Gee!! I’m sorry, BUT, there are “HELP WANTED” signs all over the place, (even in Palm Coast & Bunnell)
It’s time for folks to get off their a__ and get productive. Who knows, it may do them well.
JOHN KEPPLER says
Please correct me if i am wrong but no one with children or disability will be affected by this change. Only able bodied individuals with no children. I’m not sure where the problem is?
Mary Fusco says
John Keppler, problem is people only read the headlines and go crazy. I read about this several days ago. It also does not affect people over the age of 50. Young able-bodied men and women need to get out and work as much as it takes to keep their head above water. Public assistance is meant to help a person or family over a rough period, not to be a lifestyle. Unemployment has strict stipulations these days. You have to be actively looking for a job and you are only entitled to a certain number of weeks of benefits. After that you receive a letter stating that you have used all of your benefits. We have elderly, veterans and the disabled who cannot possibly work living on a pittance. and sometimes not able to eat. Let’s strive to give these folks a little more!
Sounds like a fair deal. Nothing is free. When one person gets something free ,there is another person paying for it
Gee, you might have to get a job and get off the free lunch ride. Too much is given to the people who live off the taxpayers. Get a job.
Peaches McGee says
Here’s the key…”able-bodied adults ages 18 to 49″.
Get your buttocks out of the house and work!
Yes plenty of work out there in the force to any person who wants it. The wage is too low overall but that can be fixed. An Infrastructure Bill would be nice to fix our crumbling Country and create even more jobs. Maybe even some of the New Economy Investment would be great. All for renewable sources of Energy when applicable. If Congress can agree on Human rights for China (HK, Muslims) is it too much to ask for a topic kicked around since Clinton?? Merry Christmas……….
Seems ok to me
The key part of this is that it applies to able bodied people with no dependents. What is wrong with requiring them to work for their benefits?
A lot of thee 700,000 can go get a job to. But a lot of single mothers that do have a job that are struggling to make ends meet with a small child will be impacted..
Mary Fusco says
Mark, read the article. It does NOT impact mothers with children.
@NEXT – the able bodied thieves who cheat on their taxes
cost of tax evasion
Mary Fusco says
Pogo, anyone who cheats needs to get caught and pay UP. Personally, I don’t cheat because I would be the one to get caught. Let’s talk about all the couples who stay “engaged” for an eternity while still having children and living in the same household and claiming only one income in order to continue receiving benefits. There is cheating on all levels in this society and the cheaters have it perfected while the rest of us work and struggle for what we have. Personally, I would rather go to work than worry every day if I was going to get caught in my web of lies. A thief is a thief no matter what level you are cheating on. Hope they all get caught. Just saying.
Why Trump doesn’t go instead after the wealthy on half a billion tax evasion? That would be the fair thing to do. Then if the people on food stamps can’t find work in the private sector then have the government provide them work and let these people show they can do it in a temporary basis providing a good work reference helping to be hired by the private sector. Sometimes is not as easy to find a job as is looks. Also lack of transportation to a job site by the poor is a problem too when they can’t afford a car or also if they are homeless.
Mary Fusco, THANK YOU for calling out those that are just plain stupid who ALWAYS complain about anything and everything that President Trump does versus actually understanding the facts. No wonder this country is so F’ed up!
It’s about time. Looks like nearly 700,000 people will need to work for a living and stop living off of us who do. Don’t misunderstand my comment, because I am all for helping those who cannot legitimately work, but history shows, too many people take advantage of the system. Those are the people I’m referring to.