Trump administration tightens work requirements for food stamps


Trump administration tightens work requirements for food stamps

Trévon Austin

22 December 2018

The Trump Administration announced Thursday that it will impose tougher work requirements on adults seeking food assistance. The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) unveiled the proposed rule, which will strip food stamp benefits from hundreds of thousands of poor workers. The proposal came on the same day that a five-year farm bill, from which a similar work requirement rule had been removed, headed to the president’s desk for his signature.

The administration’s overhaul is a response to compromises made by House Republicans in the final version of the farm bill. Trump, along with Republicans in Congress, had pushed for the bill to mandate stricter work requirements or tightened eligibility criteria for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), more commonly known as food stamps. Failing to obtain this through legislation, Trump is seeking to achieve the same ends by means of administrative action.

The proposed rule will make it harder for states to issue waivers for people who say they cannot feed themselves under current SNAP work requirements. The program already requires able-bodied adults without dependents to have jobs. Assistance is granted only for three months every three years unless a recipient is working or attends a training program 20 hours a week. However, states can waive the work requirement in areas with at least 10 percent unemployment or if there is an insufficient number of available jobs.

The new rule inhibits the ability of states to receive these waivers by narrowing the definition of an area with insufficient jobs, limiting states’ capacity to “bank” waivers for future years, and limiting waivers to only one year instead of up…

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