FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 4, 2019
Contact: Hannah Packman, 202.554.1600
WASHINGTON – Despite widespread opposition, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced that it would tighten work requirements for able-bodied Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) participants without dependents.
Under current regulations, able-bodied adults without dependents (ABAWDs) can receive food assistance no more than three months out of every three years, unless they work at least 80 hours per month or meet other education or workforce training requirements. Previously, states could waive work requirements when jobs were unavailable or didn’t match workers’ skills, but the rule will make it more difficult to do so, causing an estimated 688,000 people to lose benefits.
The vast majority of the more than 140,000 comments submitted to USDA in response to the rule were written in opposition, including those submitted by National Farmers Union (NFU). In a statement released today, NFU Vice President of Public Policy and Communications Rob Larew restated the organization’s objections and emphasized the value of nutrition assistance programs.
“More than 37 million Americans will experience food insecurity this year, which is 37 million too many. But this number would be even higher without programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, which help ensure that those in need can put food on their tables. There is no question that the nutrition safety net is essential and effective – yet this administration has done everything it can to slash gaping holes into that net, allowing hundreds of thousands of people to slip through the cracks. These work requirements, which will erode food security in rural and urban communities alike, are just another example of that.
“This cold indifference to the struggles of our fellow Americans is unethical and unjustified. We continue to call on the administration to rescind this rule, and we stand with the anti-hunger community and the many national, state, and local organizations who seek to support and protect our most vulnerable citizens.”
National Farmers Union advocates on behalf of nearly 200,000 American farm families and their communities. We envision a world in which farm families and their communities are respected, valued, and enjoy economic prosperity and social justice.