Robert Pear reported in Saturday’s New York Times that, “Hundreds of thousands of people could soon lose food stamps as states reimpose time limits and work requirements that were suspended in recent years because of high unemployment, state officials and advocates for the poor said Friday.
“Liberal groups said that many unemployed childless adults with low incomes could be cut off, starting this month, as a result of the time limits, which date back to the 1996 welfare law.
“About 45 million people receive benefits in the food stamp program, now known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a liberal-leaning research and advocacy group, estimates that 500,000 to a million people will lose benefits this year.”
The Times article noted that, “‘Able-bodied adults without dependents are eligible for SNAP for only three months in any three-year period unless they are working or participating in qualifying education and training activities,’ said Kevin W. Concannon, the under secretary of agriculture in charge of food assistance programs.
“During and after the latest recession, which ended in mid-2009, most states qualified for waivers from the time limits. But the time limits will be in effect this year in more than 40 states. In 22 states, the limits are coming back for the first time since the recession.
“As the economy improves, the Food and Nutrition Service said, many places no longer qualify for time limit waivers.”
Mr. Pear indicated that, “The people at risk of losing food aid are 18 to 49 years old. People under 18 or over 49, pregnant women and people who are medically certified as ‘unfit for employment,’ because of a disability, are generally exempt from the time limits.”
Saturday’s article added that, “Participation in the SNAP program more than doubled from 2003 to 2012. In December of last year, 45.2 million people were receiving SNAP benefits. The number has fallen by 2.6 million since reaching a peak in December 2012.”