If a new USDA proposal passes, then states will no longer be able to provide exemptions to work-eligible adults from having to obtain steady employment to receive food stamps. The new regulations could affect a significant portion of the approximately 40 million Americans that currently receive benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.
The current law stipulates that any able-bodied adults ages 18-49 without children are required to work 20 hours a week to maintain their SNAP benefits. Although a House bill failed that would have raised the age of recipients subject to work requirements from 49 to 59 and required parents with children older than 6 to work or participate in job training, the Trump Administration is planning to use its regulatory rulemaking abilities to scale back the SNAP program.
“I have directed Secretary Perdue to use his authority to close work requirement loopholes in the food stamp program. ”That was a difficult thing to get done, but the farmers wanted it done, we all wanted it done, and in the end, it’s going to make a lot of people happy,” President Trump said upon signing an $867 billion farm bill that reauthorized agriculture and conservation programs.
Democratic House leader Nancy Pelosi denounced Trump’s efforts to restrict SNAP by stating, ”Why at Christmas would you take food out of the mouths of American people?” A recent study by the Brookings Institution indicated that more stringent work requirements are likely to hurt those who are already part of the workforce but whose employment is sporadic.