Introduced by Mike Conaway (R-TX-11), the House Agriculture Committee Chairman, on April 12, the 2018 Farm Bill (H.R. 2) undermines access to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as food stamps).
The bill would expand mandatory work requirements for SNAP. It would also impose an unfunded mandate on states for employment and training services. This would put food assistance at risk for millions of people.
The current Farm Bill expires on September 30, 2018. On Wednesday, April 18, the House Agriculture Committee passed H.R.2 out of committee along a party-line vote. The bill is expected to move to the House floor as early as mid-May.
According to the Center for Law and Social Policy, “[u]nder the bill, adults (ages 18-59) who are not disabled and do not have children under age 6 would be required to work, participate in a qualified employment or training program, or a do combination of work and training for 20 hours per week. The requirement would rise to 25 hours per week in Fiscal Year 2026. Failure to meet this requirement would mean loss of SNAP benefits for one year, with subsequent occurrences carrying a penalty of three years.”
An estimated 3 million SNAP participants – including nearly 400,000 adults who are working but not enough to meet the 20 hour-a-week requirement – would need a job training or employment program to retain SNAP benefits. The bill’s new funding for such programs is well short of the cost for effective employment programs. States would find it impossible to provide high-quality job training for those that need it.
The proposed changes in the SNAP work requirement will put many low-income single childless adults at risk of severe food insecurity. These changes will be devastating to vulnerable and marginalized populations such as homeless and justice involved men and women.
The National Association of Social Workers has joined with coalition partners to oppose work requirements to various federal benefit programs. We have a Practice Alert about work requirements in Medicaid.
Call your Representative on May 8