Arrington Commends Trump Administration on Enforcing SNAP Work Requirements

WASHINGTON – Today, Congressman Jodey Arrington (TX-19) released the following statement after the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced changes to prevent states from waiving work requirements for able-bodied adults without dependents (ABAWDs) receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistant Program (SNAP) benefits.

“I commend Secretary Purdue’s much-needed reforms to the SNAP program. These new work requirements aren’t just about being good stewards of taxpayer dollars, they’re about giving people a way out of generational poverty and into a brighter future of self-reliance and prosperity,” said Arrington.  

“Despite the misinformation and fear-mongering from across the aisle, this policy will restore the dignity of work while protecting the most vulnerable members of American society – our seniors, children, and disabled Americans.”

 

Background:

  • In 2014 when Maine instituted work requirements, the number of able-bodied adults on food stamps fell by more than 90%, and those who left the SNAP program saw their incomes more than double within the first year.
  • If implemented nationwide, this requirement could save taxpayers over $5.5 billion over 5 years.
  • SNAP statute limits participation by adults ages 18-49, without a dependent and without a disability, to 3 months in a 36-month period unless the individual is working or participating in a work program for at least 80 hours per month or volunteering. The law allows states to waive these limits in areas where sufficient jobs are not available and exempt a percentage of individuals who are not work-capable.
  • These time limits do not apply to pregnant women, the elderly, disabled individuals, children, parents with children at home, or anyone with a disability or designated as “unfit for work” by the state.
  • Nearly half of ABAWDs receiving SNAP now live in waived areas.
  • The law allows states to apply for waivers of this time limit due to economic conditions, but today, there are counties with an unemployment rate as low as 2.5% included in waived areas.
  • Under USDA’s rule, states retain their statutory flexibility to waive the time-limit in areas of high unemployment and to exempt a percentage of their caseload deemed by the state to not be work-capable.
  • There are multiple ways for individuals to engage and maintain their SNAP benefits, including: working, preparing for work, and volunteering.
  • States are provided funding to operate employment and training programs, which can provide everything from job training to necessary work support such as boots, uniforms, and transit subsidies.
  • States also have access to programs and services provided by other Federal agencies, state and county governments, and local service providers.