NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

States Reinstitute Work Requirements for Food Stamps

September 18, 2014

During the recession, work requirements for food stamps (the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP) were suspended, but at least 17 states across the country plan to reinstate those requirements this fall, reports Jake Grovum at Stateline.

To receive food stamps, low-income, childless adults are generally required to work or participate in a work training program for a minimum of 20 hours per week. By doing this, they can receive SNAP, otherwise their food stamp usage is limited to three months during the course of a three-year period. However, when the federal stimulus program passed in 2009, the government allowed states to lift their food stamp work requirements.

The majority of states did away with their work requirements as a result. Today, 46.5 million Americans are receiving food stamps. Ten percent of those are childless adults who would normally be subject to work requirements.

Gradually, states have begun reinstating work requirements, depending upon their eligibility under the federal waiver. While 42 states were still able to operate their programs without the work requirements last year, just 35 states are eligible to do so this year.

Despite the fact that the relaxed work requirements were supposed to be temporary, many states have seen backlash from citizens and interest groups as they move to reinstate the work rules.

Source: Jake Grovum, "More States Enforce Food Stamp Work Requirements," Stateline, September 15, 2014.

 

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