Republican lawmakers propose stricter SNAP benefit requirements

Posted at 7:42 AM, Mar 16, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-16 09:03:43-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Republican lawmakers want to create tougher work requirements for people with SNAP food-stamp benefits. Tennessee Congressman Andy Ogles is one of them.

One of the biggest changes the America Works Act proposes is increasing the age of those who are considered able-bodied adults without dependents. Currently, those who fall under that category and are 18 to 49 years old and required to work 20 hours a week to enroll in a work training program and receive aid from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP. However, this bill would increase that age range up to 65 years old, with an effort to align with Medicare.

The argument against the proposal is that many people in that age range who are not working are providing unpaid care to children or older family members.

South Dakota Congressman Dusty Johnson, who proposed the bill backed by 20 Republicans, said the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows people over the age of 55 made up a quarter of the workforce last year.

The Act also proposes eliminating states' ability to carry over exemption waivers from year to year.

These proposals come as 32 states ended emergency allotments this month that helped families since the start of the pandemic.

Tennessee had already slashed its emergency allotments back in December 2021.

Grocery store costs also continue to rise, starting 2023 off more than 11% higher than the beginning of last year.

The Department of Agriculture said more than 41 million people receive SNAP benefits across the country.