There are cuts coming for food stamp recipients – thanks to the Trump Administration. If you are an able-bodied adult without children (ABAWD) and currently receiving food stamp benefits, you may lose them. In fact, nearly 700,000 Americans are at risk of losing their food stamp benefits.
In this article, we will go over everything you need to know about all the changes coming to the Food Stamps Program, including:
- What is the new Food Stamps rule?
- Who is at risk for being cut from Food Stamps?
- When do the Food Stamp cuts go into affect?
- Why did they pass the Food Stamps cuts?
- How to remain Eligible for Food Stamp Benefits
- Future cuts coming to Food Stamps
For more information on the new Food Stamps rule and if you are one of the thousands who will lose their benefits, continue reading below.
Changes to the Food Stamps Program
Last week, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) approved the first of three “rules” that will cut millions of American’s food stamp benefits.
Despite thousands of protest letters fighting against the new food stamp rules – the Trump Administration passed its first round of cuts to the Food Stamps Program.
The new rule will remove nearly 700,000 Americans from the program. These changes will enforce stricter work requirements for food stamp recipients that live in poor areas. and decrease the state’s ability to waive work requirements for those in poor areas.
What is the new Food Stamps rule?
The new rule, which was proposed in February requires able-bodied adults without children or dependents (ABAWD) to meet SNAP work requirements – despite their situation. This rule makes very difficult for states to waive the current work requirements for ABAWD’s that live in low-economic areas, job-scarce areas.
Currently, states have the ability to pass a waiver that extends the work requirement time period for able-bodied adults without dependents. Typically, a state would grant a waiver to extend the time period one (1) year for those recipients that live in areas that lack sufficient jobs or have high unemployment rates. The new rule will make it much more difficult for states to do that.
Presently, the food stamps program does not allow unemployed able-bodied adults without children to receive benefits for more than three (3) months during a 36-month period. To continue to receive benefits, able-bodied adults are required to work or participate in a work training program.
Who is at risk for being cut from Food Stamps?
Any food stamp recipient that is an able-bodied adult, not working, and does not have children or dependents, is at risk of losing their benefits.
To keep benefits, those at-risk food stamp recipients must work or participate in a work training program for 20 or more hours a week.
This new work requirement can be extremely difficult for those adults that live in a low-economic and job scarce areas, have transportation issues, or are homeless. According to economic experts, often times low-wage workers are not offered 20 hours per week of steady work.
When do the Food Stamp cuts go into affect?
The new Food Stamps rule is expected to go into effect on April 1, 2020. With the new rule, the state will only be able to grant waivers to recipients that live in an area that has a 24-month average unemployment rate at least 20 percent above and national rate, plus at least 6 percent unemployment for that area.
This new change to the state waivers and their focus on the unemployment rate is very misleading. The unemployment rate is a measure of the entire U.S. labor market and not those who are poor and facing a crisis. In most cases, these are the individuals that lack transportation and/or live in a low-economic area.
Why did they pass the Food Stamps cuts?
The argument to pass the new Food Stamp rule state that, “Since the economy has improved under the Trump Administration, that assistance to unemployed able-bodied adults was no longer necessary in such a strong job market.”
In the past, governors have been allowed to waive work requirements for able-bodied recipients. Specifically, those that live in low-economic areas and food deserts.
This change to the food stamps program is expected to save $5.5 billion in spending over the next five years.
How to Remain Eligible for Food Stamp Benefits
If you are a ABAWD at risk for losing your food stamps in April, we’re here to help. We will provide you with all the information you need to protect yourself from bring cut. It’s important that you are aware of what options are available.
ABAWD Food Stamp Eligibility
If you are an able-bodied adult without a dependent, and are currently not employed, you will no longer qualify for food stamps starting April 1, 2020.
As of April 2020, every ABAWD receiving food stamps must meet one of the following:
- Employed and working a minimum of 20 hours a week
- Volunteering a minimum of 20 hours a week
- Participating in a USDA Work or Workfare Program operated by the state, federal or local government
- Participating in a SNAP Employment and Training (E&T) Program
ABAWD Work Training Programs Near You
If you need help finding an eligible Employment Training or Job Center near you, visit the American Job Center Finder. They can help you locate jobs, training, and answer any employment questions you may have.
The American Job Center is operated by the Department of Labor. They can provide assistance to ABAWD recipients at-risk for losing their food stamp benefits.
Food Stamp Recipients with Waivers
If you are ABAWD with a waiver that exempts you from work requirements, here’s some information you need to know.
What if I currently have a state waiver for the food stamps work requirement?
If you currently are currently on food stamps and have state-granted waiver that protects you from SNAP work requirement rules, that will no longer be in effect after March 31, 2020. Your waiver will only expire before March 31, 2020 if your waiver expiration is before that date.
Will I be notified of changes to my state waiver?
Yes, the USDA will alert you of your state waiver expiration a minimum of 30-days prior to it’s expiration.
Future Cuts to Food Stamps
The new Food Stamps rule passed last week is only one of three proposed changes to the Food Stamps Program. Two additional rules are expected to be approved before the next presidential election. Both of the pending rules are expected to cut millions from SNAP benefits.
One of the proposed rules is said to “close a loophole” that allows Americans with an income up to 200% of the poverty level to receive benefits. For reference, 200% of the poverty level is estimated as a $50,000 yearly income for a family of four.
This same rule would also cut food stamps from households with more than $2,250 in assets. ($3,500 for a household with a disabled adult). The proposed rule would cut nearly three million at-risk recipients from their benefits. It would also cut one million children from their free or reduced-cost school lunches.
The second rule would affect 1 in 5 households on food stamps and cut $4.5 billion over five years. With that said, the new proposed rules clearly do not consider or account for individual struggles or situations.
Food Stamp Cuts Summary
We hope this article on the recent changes to the Food Stamps Program was helpful to you. If you have more questions about the cuts Trump is making to food stamps or the changes made to SNAP work requirements, please let us know in the comments section below.
Also, be sure to check out our complete guide on the Food Stamp Work Requirements for 2020. We provide you with all the information you need on the current SNAP work requirements including exemptions, waivers, and more.