The debt limit deal passed last week includes changes to the work requirements for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, commonly known as food stamps. SNAP already requires beneficiaries aged 18 to 49 without children to work or participate in job training for at least 20 hours per week. The new legislation raises the top of the age range to 54. In an analysis of the change, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities estimates that out of 750,000 people newly subject to the work requirements, 225,000 are likely to lose their benefits.
CBPP notes that the rule change includes new waivers for veterans, people experiencing homelessness and former foster youth. But an “overwhelming majority” of those subject to the new rules do not qualify for those waivers. “Those who would be newly at risk of losing food assistance have very low incomes, typically well below the poverty line, and would be pushed even deeper into poverty if they lose SNAP,” CBPP’s Katie Bergh and Dottie Rosenbaum write.
Ed Bolen, a CBPP expert on the food stamps program, questioned the need for the new rules. “You’re not going to balance the budget, much less pay down the debt, through these kinds of changes,” he told CNBC.