New Food Stamps Rule Goes into Effect on April 1, 2020

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), commonly referred to as food stamps, helps provide support for low-income households to buy food. If you receive SSI, you may be eligible to receive SNAP assistance to purchase food.

The Department of Agriculture, which runs the SNAP program, recently revealed a new rule that imposes stricter work requirements for food stamps. The new rule goes into effect on April 1, 2020.

Under the current rules, people between the age of 18 and 49 who are childless and not disabled are required to work at least 20 hours a week for more than three months over three years to qualify for food stamps. Although SNAP is a federal program, state agencies run the program through local offices. Some state agencies, including the California Department of Social Services, have created waivers for the work requirement rule for areas that face high unemployment.

The new rule would limit states from implementing those waivers. Instead, the waivers would only be allowed in the areas that have a 10% unemployment rate or higher. The unemployment rate is currently at 3.5%. This means that childless, able-bodied people will be required to work 20 hours per week or risk losing their SNAP benefits.

The USDA has estimated that 688,000 people will lose access to food stamps when this new rule is implemented. The people affected by this rule change includes seasonal holiday workers and workers with unreliable hours like waiters and waitresses. If you are still waiting for your disability claim to be adjudicated, and therefore still considered an able-bodied person, this rule may apply to you. For more information, click here.

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