USDA announces new rules for SNAP food assistance recipients
The United States Department of Agriculture announced Wednesday new rules for SNAP to move more recipients towards "self-sufficiency."
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program allows able-bodied adults with no dependents to receive assistance for three months during unemployment. States are currently allowed to apply for waivers of the time limit, including areas with unemployment rates as low as 2.5%. Under the new rule, waivers will be limited to those in areas of high unemployment.
Secretary Sonny Perdue explained that the reforms are meant to help the program move closer to its origins.
"We're really going back to the intent of Congress in 1996, which is still the law of the land," Perdue said.
The current rate of unemployment is the lowest in 50 years, according to the Department of Labor. Perdue said that this new rule will help move more able-bodied adults into the workforce to fill jobs instead of encouraging reliance on SNAP.
"Unfortunately, we've created habits out there that are not good for the economy, not good for individuals and not good for restoring the dignity of work sociologically," Perdue said.
The new rules will be enacted in April 2020. Perdue said he's been communicating with the governors of each state for a year now in preparation for the changes.