The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP👌🏾is a program through the 2014 Farm Bill designed to
increase access to nutritional food for disabled and low-income families and individuals. A pretty great move for social justice right?!
The bill must be renewed every five 🖐🏾 years, with the most recent bill signed in 2014 during the Obama Administration. SNAP eligibility is typically determined through federal requirements and a state of residence application process that assesses individual or household income. Currently, adults without disabilities are required to work a part-time job to receive benefits, but are given a three-month window to find employment while still enrolled in the program. Now, I know what some of my people in college might be thinking... "Wait.. I'm poor with little to no income that could use some help with groceries...🤔" Well, unfortunately, full time students are not eligible for SNAP👌🏾.
With the five-year mark of a new bill on the horizon this September, the 2018 Farm Bill proposal aims to “harness America’s agricultural abundance to support nutrition assistance for those truly in need”, and to “encourage state and local innovations in training, case management, and program design that promote self-sufficient and achieve long-term, stability in employment” (USDA, 2018). To achieve these goals the Trump Administration and other financially conservative groups have proposed stricter work requirements for applicants to receive assistance.
But what does this actually mean for those that rely on SNAP? As of 2016, there were 42 million Americans suffering from food insecurity in the United States. The current state of SNAP serves as one the nation’s largest welfare programs✊🏾. Many current SNAP enrollees are between jobs in a tumultuous job market. While supporters of the new bill want to encourage low income individuals to work for their government support, data shows that one in four enrollees experience job insecurity that would render them ineligible under the 2018 Farm Bill for nearly a year under these new requirements. There is evidence that long-term, work requirements will not be enough to encourage poorer populations work .
Critics of the bill note that there are significant systematic barriers to employment for some that can not necessarily be overcome by a will to work. These include the stress of poverty and mental health issues, high unemployment rates, lack of access to quality child care, and criminal records and employment discrimination. These proposed work requirements may add further hardship to low income and disenfranchised groups.
What do you think about these proposed stricter work requirements? Drop a comment below, send me an email📩 at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow me on Instagram @yourhealthcarescoop 🤳🏾