The Brookings Institute recently did a deep-dive analysis of the 2018 Farm Bill and how it will affect the work requirements of Americans who receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) – formerly food stamps – benefits. The House version of the bill would expand work requirements and could cause close to 400,000 households to lose their benefits. The Senate version of the bill does not address the work restrictions, instead suggesting administrative changes to the SNAP program. The bill has been sent to a committee charged with presenting one united bill by September 30, 2018.
The authors, Brookings researchers, examined the Current Population Survey, which observes employment transitions over two years, as well as the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP). Using these data sources, they examined four categories of recipients: (1) employed and worked more than 20 hours per week, (2) employed and worked less than 20 hours per week, (3) unemployed and seeking employment, or (4) not in the labor force.
Because only those working more than 20 hours per week every month would be eligible to retain their SNAP benefits, the authors estimate that nearly 80 percent of adults without children under 6 at home who do not receive disability benefits would be exposed to potential SNAP benefit loss under the House proposal.
It is likely that those who would be most affected by the work requirements are those who are working in the volatile low-wage labor market.
Through its deep expertise in Workforce Development, Advocacy & Communication Solutions, LLC (ACS) works with clients to develop strategies that help individuals address barriers to employment, and at the same time help employers in their community hire quality staff. Barriers to employment, such as PTSD, homelessness, lack of work history or education, or being formerly incarcerated often prevents individuals from being “job ready”, and many traditional workforce development programs cannot help them find and keep a job. As work requirements for safety net programs such as SNAP and Medicaid become more common, state and local agencies will need to develop strategies to help ALL of their customers find employment.
To learn more about the Farm Bill and its effect on SNAP recipients, visit the House Committee on Agriculture.