“I am a single mother of a daughter who is immune compromised and cannot attend public schools. We get by with help from my family, freelance work from home when I can get it, and Medicaid and SNAP. If I was forced to work in order to receive the Medicaid that my daughter needs for her medical condition and SNAP that helps put food on our table, I honestly do not know what I would do. It terrifies me that I may end up in an impossible situation due to the decisions of some politicians who have never been in a situation even remotely similar to mine.”-Leslie from Colorado
SNAP (or food stamps) is a literal lifesaver for moms like Leslie and millions of other families like hers who are struggling to make ends meet during tough times. It also boosts our economy and saves funds in the long run by providing vital nutrition assistance to moms, kids, and families. Two-thirds of SNAP benefits go to families with children. Yet, GOP leaders in the U.S. Congress want to make it harder for families to access SNAP by making recipients pass an unnecessary, harmful, and overly restrictive work requirement, which could lead to millions losing nutrition assistance.
Here is what’s going on: Right on the heels of passing the largest, most unpopular tax scam in decades, Republicans are now pivoting to take away health care, nutrition assistance, and affordable housing that we, and our economy, desperately need. And they are likely going after SNAP first. How? In the next few weeks, the House of Representatives’ Agriculture Committee will unveil details for the reauthorization of the Farm Bill, where any changes to SNAP policy—good or bad—takes place. And they are heading in the wrong direction! Leaked drafts of the bill show that Republicans on the committee are going to try to include harmful and unnecessarily strict work requirements in order for most people to receive SNAP. This red tape and new barrier would lead to 8 million people like Leslie in Colorado being dropped from the program! Outrageous! This is a direct attack on women, who do the lion’s share of caregiving for children, elderly people, and family members with disabilities. We need to speak out and stop this from happening!
The entire premise of these harmful new restrictions— that somehow people who use SNAP are lazy — is dead wrong. Fact: Most adults on SNAP already work. More than half of SNAP households with at least one working-age, non-disabled adult work while receiving SNAP — and more than 80 percent work in the year before or after receiving SNAP. Among those who are not working, most report illness or disability, caregiving responsibilities, being recently divorced, escaping an abusive relationship, or going to school as a reason for not working at that time.
Instead of taking away grocery money from struggling families to pay for new risky schemes, Congress should focus on policies that actually help create jobs, boost wages, and protect families.
While proponents of these new restrictions say they want to help more people work, the reality is that these new requirements will hurt working families already struggling to balance work and family and make ends meet—and these requirements will also hurt our economy. Economic analysis shows that there is a high return on investment, in fact, from SNAP because people immediately spend those funds on food, which helps fuel our economy. Further, requiring documentation of every hour of employment to obtain vital health care, nutrition, and housing assistance creates more needless red tape for people, especially those who are self-employed, have seasonal jobs, or who are caring for family members and making ends meet through short term informal jobs like babysitting.
There is no evidence that overly restrictive work requirements would even help people get back to work faster, as supporters of this policy claim. Common sense says that taking food assistance away from struggling households will increase hardship and won’t make it easier for them to find work. Also, these are not new ideas. These are old, recycled ideas that have failed to work in the past. Washington State and Louisiana have tried it in the past with Medicaid. Rather than getting more people back into the workforce, work requirements led to more paperwork and less people receiving the healthcare coverage they desperately need—including many eligible people losing coverage.
Once you take action, make sure to share this post with your friends and family and post our action page to Facebook. We need to get ahead of the game and speak out NOW before the GOP moves these destructive policies forward.
Thank you for continuing to speak out and protect our families’ health and nutrition!
P.S. Are you currently or have you ever used SNAP? How would a new restrictive employment requirement affect you and your family? MomsRising wants to hear from you…your experiences with these programs matter! Share your story with us here.