Congress is considering legislation that would impose harsh work requirements on participants in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). SNAP, also known as food stamps, is part of the U.S. Farm Bill that must be reauthorized by Sept. 30, 2018. The version of the Farm Bill that has passed the House Agriculture Committee contains harmful and unworkable work requirements that would cut off food assistance to as many as 2 million people.
Most SNAP participants without a disability will be subject to harsh new work requirements.
- Every SNAP participant who does not have a disability and is not taking care of a child under age 6 would either have to work or participate in a work program for a minimum of 20 hours a week.
- This requirement would apply to non-disabled participants between ages 18 and 59.
Participants fall through the cracks when work requirements are put on safety net programs.
- People receiving other assistance that requires work (like TANF) often lose assistance because of missed appointments, lost paperwork or confusion, not because they refused to work.
- SNAP participants also could lose assistance because an employer cut their hours or because they missed work due to illness or a family emergency.
People who can’t comply with the limits would lose SNAP benefits for a year or more.
- A person who couldn’t comply would lose his or her SNAP benefits for between one year and three years depending on the number of violations.
- The only way a failure to comply could be cured would be to work for a full month before reapplying for SNAP or to be exempted from the work requirement due to disability or another reason.
Funding for states to run work programs would be totally inadequate.
- States would be expected to set up complicated and costly systems to track participants’ compliance with work requirements and to sanction people who don’t comply.
- Funding given to states to provide work opportunities would be totally inadequate for real job training – possibly as low as $30 per month per recipient.
- Both participants and state SNAP agencies will be set up to fail under this proposed law.
These work requirements are unnecessary and counterproductive.
- Most SNAP participants who can work already do, either while receiving SNAP or in the year immediately before or after using SNAP to get through a period of unemployment.
- Most SNAP participants who don’t work can’t work because of employment barriers like bad health, lack of child care or the need to care for an older relative.
Call your U.S. Representative and U.S. Senators Richard Shelby and Doug Jones at 202-224-3121 and ask them to oppose new SNAP limits that would harm struggling Alabama families.