A new paper from the Brookings Institution raises more doubts about the usefulness of work requirements for Medicaid and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
More than a dozen states have applied to the federal government for waivers that would allow such requirements for Medicaid recipients, with Arkansas already rolling them out, resulting in more than 4,000 people losing their benefits. The food stamp program could also see new work requirements, since the Farm Bill that’s working its way through Congress contains more stringent work rules for some SNAP beneficiaries.
Here are highlights from the report’s conclusions:
- “We find that the majority of SNAP and Medicaid participants who would be exposed to work requirements are attached to the labor force, but that a substantial share would fail to consistently meet a 20 hours per week–threshold.”
- “Among persistent labor force nonparticipants, health issues are the predominant reason given for not working.”
- “There may be some subset of SNAP and Medicaid participants who could work, are not working, and might work if they were threatened with the loss of benefits. This paper adds evidence to a growing body of research that shows that this group is very small relative to those who would be sanctioned under the proposed policies who are already working or are legitimately unable to work.”