USDA to Enforce Existing Work Requirements for SNAP Recipients


Despite the fact that mandatory work requirements, more stringent than existing regulations were not included in the 2018 Agriculture Improvement Act (“the Farm Bill”), the USDA announced that it intends to strictly enforce existing work requirements by restricting waivers extended by states.


Current regulations relating to abled-bodied adults without dependents (ABAWDs) will apply to 3.8 million of the 40 million SNAP beneficiaries.  The current regulations requires all ABAWDs to receive food stamps for only three months during any three-year period and also demand either involvement in an educational training program for at least 80 hours a month or that recipients actively seek employment.  A number of states waived the time limit in areas of high unemployment creating a population of permanent SNAP recipients.


The USDA maintains that with low unemployment after the Great Recession, there are too many ABAWDs receiving SNAP benefits by virtue of their residency in waived areas concentrated in California, Florida, Texas and New York.  The USDA estimates that there are 570,000 ABAWDs receiving SNAP benefits in California alone.