A new study by the Urban Institute has found that stricter work requirements by the Trump administration may take millions off food stamp benefits, saving $4.2 billion annually.
The study concludes:
If the proposed regulations had been implemented last year, 3.7 million fewer people and 2.1 million fewer households3 would have received SNAP in an average month; annual benefits would have decreased by $4.2 billion. An estimated 2.2 million participating households would no longer be eligible for SNAP and would lose an average of $127 in monthly benefits; 3.1 million others would receive an average of $37 less in benefits a month. But some households would see benefits increase under the proposed regulations: about 2.5 million participating households would receive an average of $14 more a month, and 67,000 households would begin participating because of the higher standard utility agreements (SUAs) in some states.
Per NBC, under federal law, able-bodied adults without dependents are restricted to three months of benefits within a 36-month period unless they work at least 80 hours per month or participate in certain educational or job-training activities.
But current USDA regulations allow for states to waive an existing work requirement if the area’s unemployment rate is 20 percent higher than the national rate.
The new rule allows for states to only waive that requirement in areas where the unemployment rate is above 7 percent — nearly double the current national unemployment rate.
About 755,000 recipients who qualified for the existing waiver now stand to lose assistance, The Washington Post reported.
Over the past year, the Department of Agriculture proposed three changes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, known as SNAP or food stamps.
The new rules create stricter work requirements for program eligibility, cap deductions for utility allowances and “reform” the way 40 states automatically enroll families into SNAP when they receive other forms of federal aid
A study by the Urban Institute released this week examined the three rules in combination for the first time and found that 3.7 million fewer people would receive SNAP in an average month, 2.2 million households would see their average monthly benefits drop by $127, more than 3 million others would see an average drop of $37 per month, and 982,000 students would lose access to free or reduced lunches.
“What we found is that overall the three proposed changes would reduce the number of households participating in SNAP by about 11 percent if this was implemented in 2018,” said Laura Wheaton, a senior fellow at the Urban Institute who conducted the study. “It’s about a 9.4 percent reduction in the number of people participating and about an 8 percent reduction in overall benefits.”