Trump plans to make more people work for food stamps

The US Department of Agriculture unveiled a proposed rule that would expand work requirements in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

Posted: Dec 20, 2018 7:36 AM


If Congress won't make more food stamp recipients work for their benefits, the Trump administration will.

The US Department of Agriculture unveiled a proposed rule Thursday that would expand work requirements in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, as the food stamp program is formally known. The proposal comes on the same day as President Donald Trump plans to sign a farm bill that had a similar provision that was eventually eliminated

The overhaul marks the administration's latest effort to impose work requirements in government assistance programs. In an unprecedented move, it has started allowing states to mandate that Medicaid recipients find employment. Administration officials point to the nation's low unemployment rate as a reason to push more Americans to self-sufficiency.

"A central theme of the Trump administration has been to expand prosperity for all Americans, which includes helping people lift themselves out of pervasive poverty," said Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, noting it will save $15 billion over 10 years. The proposed rule "restores the dignity of work to a sizable segment of our population, while it's also respectful of the taxpayers who fund the program."

The food stamp program already requires non-disabled, working-age adults without dependents to have jobs. They can only receive benefits for three months out of every 36-month period unless they are working or participating in training programs 20 hours a week.

But states can waive that requirement for areas where unemployment is at least 10% or there is an insufficient number of jobs, as defined by the Department of Labor. Already, some red states, including Kentucky and West Virginia, are phasing out or eliminating their waivers.

The proposed rule would make it harder for states to receive those waivers by tightening the definition of areas where there are insufficient jobs, curtailing states' ability to "bank" exemptions for future years and limiting waivers to only one year instead of up to two, among other changes.

There were 3.8 million Americans who fell into the target category in 2016, the latest federal figure available. Some 2.8 million of them were not working.

The agency's move could result in hundreds of thousands of beneficiaries losing their assistance, according to the left-leaning Center on Budget & Policy Priorities. Typically, one-third of Americans live in an area where the work requirement is waived.

The proposed rule would cut the number of areas with waivers by three-quarters, according to the agency.

Many low-income people can't find a good job with steady hours, even in today's robust economy, said Rachel West, director of poverty research at the left-leaning Center for American Progress. That volatility, combined with the challenge of documenting one's hours, will result in many folks losing their benefits.

"In low-wage jobs, there is significant churn week-to-week, month-to-month, in hours," West said. "So many people cannot control their hours in today's labor market."

The farm bill passed by the House called for many food stamp recipients to be locked out of the program for up to three years if they fail to work or enroll in job training. The legislation would have also expanded the work requirement to those in their 50's to work and extended it to parents with school-age children.

The final version, however, did not contain these changes.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 153270

Reported Deaths: 3807
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto10332104
Hinds10190199
Harrison7244111
Jackson6521124
Rankin5805103
Lee523695
Madison4964107
Forrest388286
Jones367788
Lauderdale3575147
Lafayette334952
Washington3241108
Lamar296650
Oktibbeha251362
Lowndes243864
Bolivar242984
Panola229653
Neshoba2241118
Marshall221250
Leflore207791
Monroe203978
Pontotoc202929
Lincoln194865
Sunflower192555
Warren178757
Tate177051
Union171026
Copiah167040
Pike164758
Yazoo158840
Scott157930
Itawamba156135
Alcorn154828
Pearl River154168
Coahoma151943
Simpson151953
Prentiss149531
Adams144451
Grenada142845
Leake139444
Holmes132361
Tippah128030
Covington127939
George126425
Winston124526
Hancock123640
Wayne120623
Marion118646
Attala117534
Tishomingo110842
Chickasaw109032
Newton108029
Tallahatchie97727
Clay93427
Clarke93053
Jasper84822
Stone80015
Calhoun78113
Walthall77229
Montgomery75825
Carroll74015
Lawrence73414
Smith72816
Noxubee72517
Yalobusha72328
Perry68126
Tunica62319
Greene61222
Claiborne58916
Jefferson Davis58817
Amite55814
Humphreys54719
Benton49918
Quitman4977
Webster46414
Kemper44718
Wilkinson40422
Jefferson36411
Franklin3535
Choctaw3507
Sharkey32317
Issaquena1204
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 249524

Reported Deaths: 3578
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson33064500
Mobile19951362
Madison13596148
Tuscaloosa13246154
Montgomery12435236
Shelby1061677
Baldwin889098
Lee781466
Morgan686150
Etowah643966
Calhoun6430121
Marshall635355
Houston537738
DeKalb492236
Cullman451542
Limestone433345
St. Clair432555
Lauderdale422354
Elmore412964
Walker3710111
Talladega359354
Jackson329823
Colbert329642
Blount299740
Autauga278042
Franklin256434
Coffee248315
Dale236254
Chilton227438
Dallas226832
Russell22383
Covington220434
Escambia198931
Tallapoosa184391
Chambers177950
Pike159914
Clarke159819
Marion143636
Winston135123
Lawrence131636
Pickens125718
Geneva12438
Marengo123124
Bibb119617
Barbour117811
Butler117842
Randolph104921
Cherokee103424
Hale97831
Fayette92516
Washington92219
Clay92024
Henry8756
Lowndes80229
Monroe79011
Cleburne77814
Macon74522
Crenshaw72030
Bullock70219
Perry6906
Lamar6898
Conecuh68814
Wilcox64218
Sumter58622
Greene42818
Choctaw42713
Coosa3544
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