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article imageTrump administration wants more people to work for food stamps

By Karen Graham     Dec 20, 2018 in Politics
Washington - The USDA has a new proposal that would tighten eligibility for food assistance from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and it's tied to unemployment.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture unveiled a proposal that would expand the work requirements for those people in the SNAP program, making it harder for states to waive work requirements in areas that have high unemployment.
Under the current system in place, adults who don't have dependents have to prove they're working or training to work at least 20 hours a week to get food stamps for more than three months over a three-year period.
However, states have been allowed to get past this mandate if they meet certain criteria, including having an unemployment rate 20 percent greater than the national rate (currently 3.7 percent —with 4.44 percent being 20 percent greater). Under the USDA's proposal, this waiver would only apply in areas where the unemployment rate was over 7.0 percent.
A now hiring sign is posted on the window of a business on June 1  2018 in San Francisco  California...
A now hiring sign is posted on the window of a business on June 1, 2018 in San Francisco, California; A hiring spree in May helped drive the unemployment rate down to 3.8 percent
According to the USDA, the new proposal would affect about 755,000 of the 2.8 million adults without dependents who don't have jobs, according to the Washington Post.
This new way of handling the SNAP program would reduce areas that qualify for waivers by roughly 75 percent. All this comes on the same day that President Donald Trump is expected to sign the $867 billion dollar farm bill into law, reports National Public Radio.
"These actions will save hard-working taxpayers $15 billion over 10 years," said Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said, adding that the proposed rule would also get President Trump "to support a farm bill he might otherwise have opposed."
While Republicans on Capitol Hill have praised the proposal, Democrats point out that it does not take into account local conditions in many areas, including the fact that some areas just don't have the jobs available.
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, according to CNN News.
"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."
Once the proposed rule is published in the Federal Register, it will be open for 60 days for the public to comment.
More about Food stamps, Trump administration, SUPPLEMENTAL NUTRITION ASSISTANCE PROGRAM, Farm bill, ABAWDs
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