public-policy newsletter

Administration Publishes Final Work Requirement Regulation

December 4, 2019

By Zachary Tashman

Today, the Department of Agriculture (USDA) released its final rule entitled “Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program: Requirements for Able-Bodied Adults Without Dependents”. According to the USDA’s regulatory impact analysis, this rule change would eliminate SNAP benefits for 688,000 adults by 2021.

Currently, adults without dependents who do not meet the 20-hour per week work requirement can only receive SNAP benefits for three months. However, states with high unemployment rates are issued waivers to circumvent these time requirements. Over the past twenty-three years both Republican and Democratic administrations have used similar economic metrics when granting SNAP waivers, and currently 36 states receive waivers. The USDA’s rule change, which is scheduled to take effect on April 1st 2020, will change the minimum county unemployment rate to 6 percent. Additionally, the rule will restrict states’ ability to roll over any unused exemptions into the next year. The restriction of these waivers is projected to cut $5.48 billion in SNAP benefits over the next five years. The USDA’s actions run contrary to the 2018 Farm Bill, which specifically left the current waiver provisions in place, meaning this rule will likely be challenged in federal court.

SNAP is directly responsible for lifting more than 3 million people out of poverty each year, making it the most successful federal poverty-fighting program after Social Security. This new rule will have a negative impact on the lives of hundreds of thousands of individuals living in communities lacking sufficient employment options, who are striving to reach their full human potential. The National Assembly opposes any efforts that would cause people to lose access to nutrition services that help them thrive.

Take Action

We encourage our member organizations and partners to contact their Representatives and Senators and urge them to use the Congressional Review Act to overturn this administrative rule change.

The National Assembly will continue to track this issue closely. For more information on Federal legislation impacting the human service sector, check out PolicySource, or contact Zachary Tashman at