Millions stand to lose SNAP benefits due to new USDA work requir

Millions stand to lose SNAP benefits due to new USDA work requirements

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LUBBOCK, Texas -

After Congress could not get it done, the USDA announced it is implementing working requirements for all able bodied recipients.

"The intent of the proposal is to address the able bodied adults without dependents on SNAP that have the ability to work but who are not currently working," said Brandon Lipps, Food and Nutrition Service Admin. USDA. 

The House passed work requirements for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients in the Farm Bill however the Senate stripped the most controversial ones in order to get Democrats on board.

"The President and Secretary Sonny Perdue at the USDA basically filled in the gap from where our House reforms left off and strengthened the work requirements so that states couldn't just waive them and that we would incentive and encourage able bodied adults to get a job," said Lubbock Rep. Jodey Arrington.

David Weaver with the South Plains Food Bank said the proposal, which requires able bodied adults to obtain a full time job or receive at least 20 hours of vocational training, will have some consequences.

"We're saying well you've got to be getting job training or volunteering but there's no resources for people to go out and find that," Weaver said.

Weaver said states are not playing ball when it comes to providing the training.

"The states haven't been willing to really fund some job retraining programs that are helping people with saying, ok, we've got slots for people with your skills that can fill," he said.

Under the proposal state waivers for SNAP benefits will also be drastically cut.

"The proposal restricts waivers to areas where the unemployment rate exceeds seven percent which is when job are truly hard to find," Arrington said. "It also eliminates the banking of exemptions to stop stockpiling and allows for only a one year look back."

Arrington said this will save taxpayers billions while reinstating what he said is the dignity of work.

"This isn't for disabled folks, this isn't for pregnant people, this isn't elderly, this is for and directed to able bodied work capable adults," he said.

Weaver said he worries food will still end up being taken out of the mouths of those who need it most.

"There are people in our neighborhood, people that aren't too far from where we're filming right now that desperately need food and when programs like SNAP are restricted it really does impinge on a person's ability to feed themselves and their family," Weaver said.

According to some estimates, more than 750,000 people will lose benefits under the new rule. The Food and Nutrition Service Admin. said an estimated 75 percent of the country that currently receives waivers would no longer qualify.

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