The federal government recently announced changes to the work requirements for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, otherwise known as SNAP, that could cause nearly 700,000 Americans to lose access to food stamps.
Many individuals who cannot work due to disability rely on food stamps to help feed their families. At Silver & Silver, our Philadelphia, Montgomery, and Delaware County workers’ compensation and Social Security lawyers represent disabled workers who need help fighting for the benefits they deserve, and we’re concerned as to how these food stamp changes might affect members of our community.
Here are a few key details about the revamped SNAP guidelines, released by the US Department of Agriculture in early December:
- Rule changes will impact people between the ages of 18 and 49 who do not have children and are not disabled;
- Previous policy required this group of people to work a minimum of 20 hours a week and sustain employment for 36 months in order to qualify for SNAP benefits. However, individual states could waive those requirements in areas with high unemployment rates.
- Now, the USDA will place restrictions on a state’s ability to waive work requirements for food stamp eligibility. Waivers will only be allowed in areas with an unemployment rate over 6 percent, which is almost twice the national unemployment rate as of October 2019.
- As a result of these SNAP cuts, the federal government expects an estimated 688,000 people to lose access to food stamps, which will save more than $5 billion over a period of five years.
- According to the USDA, nearly 3 million adults who received food stamps under the old rules did not have dependents and were not disabled. An estimated 2.1 million food stamp recipients were not employed. Rule changes are aimed at slicing those numbers by compelling people to find work.
If you cannot work due to a disability, you should not be affected by these recent changes in food stamp policy. However, proving your disability and claiming the benefits you’re entitled to can be a complicated challenge, and individuals receiving food stamps while pursuing a workers’ compensation or Social Security disability claim may need experienced legal representation to help them navigate federal policy changes. If you are disabled and concerned about losing food stamp benefits due to new federal SNAP work requirements, or you need to consult with a wrongful termination attorney in Philadelphia, Montgomery, and Delaware County and the surrounding region, contact the team at Silver & Silver today.