Food stamps already have work requirements. Now, GOP lawmakers want tougher ones.
The food stamp program already has work requirements for people who the U.S. government defines as “able-bodied adults without dependents” — in other words, younger workers who are not disabled and have children or There are no other dependencies.
But a group of Republican lawmakers say a loophole needs to be closed as well as tougher work to get older food stamp recipients to work in exchange for their benefits.
Dusty Johnson, a Republican from South Dakota, and more than 20 other Republican lawmakers on Tuesday introduced a bill called the America Works Act, which would end the waiver program that states give some of their residents. Allows neglect of work requirements. Currently, 18 states use waivers that exempt residents from work requirements, lawmakers said. said In a statement
The bill would require older workers to prove they have a job or are in a training program to receive food stamps. Currently, able-bodied adults between the ages of 18 and 49 who do not have children must work 20 hours a week or be enrolled in a work training program to receive assistance from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP. is, which is its formal name. Food Stamp Program
But the bill would extend that requirement to people up to age 65, which lawmakers say is in line with Medicare, the health insurance program for Americans age 65 and older.
Pre-pandemic data showed that 1.4 million adults without dependents “reported a gross income of zero dollars – meaning they did not work at all,” the lawmakers said in the statement. I said. That represents about 3% of the 42.6 million people who received food stamps in December, the most recent. Data Available from the US Department of Agriculture.
“The best way out of poverty is work,” Johnson said in the statement. “Work requirements are proven, and people who can work should work.”
In a tweet, Johnson noted that his family received SNAP benefits when he was a child, adding that he’s “witnessed the rewards of hard work.”
The push to add more work requirements comes at a difficult time for many low-income households, including 32 states. Reduction in food stamp benefits What are some experts this month? Called “Hunger Rock”.
The cuts, which translate to an average loss of $82 per person in monthly SNAP benefits, affect more than 30 million people who receive food stamps in these states and, as inflation remains painfully high, grocery Prices go up by more than 10 percent. A year ago, as of the latest Inflation figures.
SNAP has often drawn scrutiny from Republican lawmakers, who have proposed it in recent years Similar laws To tighten work requirements for recipients. gave Trump administration Efforts were also made to tighten work requirements.
The Center on Budget and Policy Proposals (CBPP) said on Wednesday that the latest proposal should be rejected. Reports. The left-leaning think tank noted that most adults under 65 who receive SNAP benefits are already working or temporarily between jobs.
People who are not working on food stamps often provide unpaid care for children or older family members, are in school, or are out of work due to health problems, the CBPP said. Adding red tape to qualify for food aid means some eligible people will fall off the list due to additional hurdles, according to the group.
“Justifications for work requirements rest on false assumptions that people who receive benefits do not work and should be forced to do so,” the CBPP said. “These assumptions are rooted in stereotypes based on race, gender, disability status and class.”
Certainly, the Republican bill is unlikely to become law because Democrats control the Senate. Yet the effort reflects an ongoing push by GOP lawmakers to cut spending on benefit programs like food stamps.